Baroda take control after Rahul 89
Karnataka 235 for 6 (Rahul 89, Mangalorkar 2-51, Swapnil 2-62) trail Baroda 335 (Mithun 4-81) by 100 runs
Noise. There was very little from Baroda in the morning and a whole lot from the crowd. The roles reversed after lunch, but the abiding sounds of the second day's play in Mysore were the thump when the ball met the middle of KL Rahul's bat and the silence when he was worked out for 89 off 160 balls. The visitors then found holes in the Karnataka middle order and shifted the balance to possibly contemplate a first-innings lead at stumps.
"Yeaaahh," cried Sagar Mangalorkar, five balls into his spell as Robin Uthappa was caught behind while driving away from the body. Baroda's plan was to make the batsman play as much as possible, but they struggled to control their lengths in the process. Singles were found and leg-side deliveries were flicked to the boundary until Mangalorkar repeated the same cry when he had R Samarth edging to the keeper in the eighth over.
Those two incidents aside, it was the fans, swarming a wide arc from third man to cover point and another clump at long-off, who were the most vocal in the first session. They expressed displeasure when Rahul's flicks were hunted down before the boundary, demanded more sixes from him after he tonked one over the sightscreen and moved, as the score did, to a steady beat.
Rahul was able to pick gaps off the front foot or the back foot, and his strength on the drive kept the bowlers from trying to explore for swing. His progress to fifty was almost matter-of-fact, off 96 balls. A similar feeling of inevitability hung around him reaching a century. "He is one of those batsmen who doesn't get out unless it is to a really good ball," J Arunkumar, the batting coach, had said.
Swapnil Singh, the left-arm spinner, managed one of those in the last over before lunch, but there was no gully to exploit the outside edge off a flick. Baroda persevered and got lucky with three overs for tea. An innocuously wide delivery from Gangandeep Singh snagged the edge while Rahul tried to cut and went to the keeper. And a few of the crowd began to disperse.
CM Gautam picked out short cover and Karnataka went from a strong 165 for 3 to a dicey 176 for 5.
Baroda's surge had begun late again. A hot day and the heavy roller had dulled the pitch and they seemed accepting of that. Irfan Pathan had been bowling, and fielding, well within himself. After lunch though, the close-in fielders drummed up appreciable encouragement for the fast bowlers. Irfan fed off the energy to produce a bouncer that trumped Manish Pandey's hook. It rose above the batsman's eyeline, had extra zip, cramped him up and broke the most accomplished stand of the day - 80 off 146 balls.
The ball began beating bat more - Swapnil's first ball jumped past the outside edge - and Baroda were keen on making up after Pandey had been let off by Deepak Hooda at third slip off Mangalorkar. Irfan's second spell read 6-1-8-1.
Karnataka needed 18 overs to get the 35 runs to their 200 after Rahul's wicket and Karun Nair felt the brunt of that pressure. He was dropped by Yusuf Pathan on 20 and 27 and was finally stumped for 38 runs that had taken 177 painstaking minutes.
Swapnil, with his high-arm action, was able to add enough revs on the ball to have it turning and bouncing sharply towards the end of the day. He and Gagandeep were the workhorses, bowling 42 overs for 104 runs and three wickets to strangle Karnataka. They ensured Baroda finished on top.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo