Karnataka v Punjab, Ranji Trophy, Group A, Hubli, 3rd day December 16, 2013

Vinay ton leaves Punjab battling for survival

The Report by Karthik Krishnaswamy in Hubli

Punjab 174 and 156 for 5 (Gurkeerat 56*) trail Karnataka 505 for 9 dec (Pandey 161, Vinay 105*, Rahul 92) by 175 runs

In the morning, Punjab had watched him score an unbeaten 105 against their tiring attack and extend Karnataka's lead to 331. Deep in the final session, just when they hoped they could see out the day with a pair of set batsmen at the crease, Vinay Kumar returned to uproot Taruwar Kohli's off stump.

The fifth-wicket partnership between Taruwar and Gurkeerat Singh had only been the second in both Punjab innings to last over 100 balls. In the morning, Vinay had spent 148 balls in the company of last man HS Sharath before declaring Karnataka's innings at 505 for 9.

Gurkeerat played a few defiant strokes late in the day - a square cut off Vinay, and drives for four either side of cover off successive deliveries from Stuart Binny - to stay unbeaten on 56 but Punjab remained deep in trouble, five down and 175 behind.

Karnataka's first wicket came from a brilliant bit of fielding in the sixth over. Manan Vohra cut HS Sharath hard and faultlessly, from the coaching manual's perspective. He had got on top of the bounce and the ball was inches from the ground when Ganesh Satish - crouched close to the bat at an unorthodox short point - got his right hand under it.

Satish was the catcher again, three overs later, when an effort ball from Abhimanyu Mithun found Uday Kaul late on a pull. Kaul was less than halfway into his stroke when the ball hit him high on the bat and popped to short leg. Punjab were 21 for 2 after 8.1 overs.

Mandeep Singh had watched a number of his team-mates throw their wickets away in Punjab's first innings as he finished unbeaten on 32. Now, it was his turn to play an injudicious stroke. On 12, he chased a full, wide ball and edged Mithun to wicketkeeper CM Gautam, who held on after a juggle.

Punjab went to tea 68 for 3, with opener Jiwanjot Singh on 32. Jiwanjot, who was coming off a double-century against Vidarbha, had looked entirely at ease, and had struck six fours, including two effortless flicks off Mithun in one over. Perhaps he, Punjab must have thought, could bat them out of this hole.

He couldn't. Jiwanjot hadn't added any runs to his score when Mithun, running in to start the fourth over after tea, got one to jag back and trap him LBW.

The pitch still looked good to bat on. Left-arm spinner KP Appanna got one to bounce extra and had a caught-behind appeal turned down off Taruwar, and Gurkeerat pulled his bat out of the way as Sharath got one to lift off the seam, but such moments were rare, and both batsmen looked largely untroubled before Vinay struck late in the day.

Vinay, on 29 overnight, had started the day full of aggressive strokes, a particular highlight being a backfoot punch in front of point off Sandeep Sharma the ball after he'd brought up his half-century. After Mithun's dismissal, Appanna batted in the same manner before he was out for a 46-ball 45.

After that, Punjab spread their fields against Vinay, often stationing six men on the rope for him. Vinay kept refusing singles early in the over, even though last man HS Sharath didn't look troubled when he did get the strike, and even though Karnataka's lead had ballooned beyond 300.

It went on in this manner till Vinay flicked a single to deep square leg off VRV Singh to reach his maiden first-class century. His previous best had been 61. Lunch, and the declaration, came a few minutes later. The respite for Punjab didn't.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    This is hillarious. Comparing Vinay batting in a Ranji trophy to Rohit's batting in ODI against Dale Steyn. He scored a 100 means we know what kind of pitch would it be. We need to grow up even if we have to support our regional cricketer.

  • jay on December 16, 2013, 22:23 GMT

    There is some thing in the pitch for every one - Glad to see Karnataka put on a better show as the season is progressing. Well done Vinay and team Karnataka.

  • Karunaprasad on December 16, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    @CricketChat - Vinay played ODI as a bowler. He has made many small contributions with bat also. You must have noticed how many times Rohit Sharma managed to put bat to ball against Dale Steyn in first ODI, after scoring double hundred in India. So, no point in criticizing Vinay's batting in ODI. Regarding value, this is a Ranji match and his century & big lead will ensure 6 points for Karnataka and push them further up in the table. fYI, no selector will look at him as a batsman. There are enough flat track bullies in India..

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    if only these complaining people watch ranji matches.. most of the pitches in this season have been good i feel.. most bowlers have been getting a good time with the ball...

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    Praveen Madhu and Cricket Chat - If you both gentlemen could please check scorecard of other side's batting before complaining about the nature of pitch? I mean, everyone want to take a dig at pitch when a lower batsmen score a ton. Mandeep Singh, Jiwanjot Singh couldn't score runs on such flat pitch then? This game will have a result tomorrow. If you complain about a result pitch, don't know what you'll call chepauk and roadkot.

  • thomas on December 16, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    Vinay is the all rounder India has been looking for-I mean fast bowler and now a great bat :)

  • murali on December 16, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    Was punjab bowling that bad? I lost respect on ranji 100

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2013, 15:25 GMT

    Where is Harbajan, With Ashwin struggling, he should be out and playing for Punjab to show that he is still hungry to play for country, or is he injured??

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    Yes, right on the money by CricketChat. Why dont BCCI build some pitches with grass and bounce on it. Make Ranji trophy more competitive , it encourages fast bowlers and tests the batsmen. We will know true colors of Rohit, Shikar before they become a liability to Indian team outside India.

  • Rajesh on December 16, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    A hundred is a hundred. At the end of the day it gave Karnataka a huge lead and has given them a chance to gain all the points from this match. Still a comment here says the value of this hundred is ZERO. It clearly shows the lack of cricketing acumen of the person who left that comment. Vinay's aim as captain is to win the match. And in the bargain if a tiring attack allows him to rattle a century and put his team in a commanding situation, does anyone expect him to let go that opportunity? Only fools will do so and think so. Hope Karnataka win by an innings.

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