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The Bulletin by Siddarth Ravindran in Mysore
November 17, 2008
Andhra 161 for 7 (Manoj Sai 70, Joshi 4-23) trail Karnataka 366 (Uthappa 133, Joshi 65, Kalyankrishna 4-85) by 205 runs
While a raucous crowd had watched the two teams share the spoils on the first day, a far quieter one witnessed hosts Karnataka dominate on day two. Sunil Joshi's all-round show had Andhra in so much trouble that despite a counterattacking 104-run seventh-wicket stand between Manoj Sai and M Suresh, the visitors faced the prospect of a follow-on.
After having sliced through the Karnataka middle order late on the first day, Andhra continued in the same vein on the second morning, removing Vinay Kumar in the second over. There on, it was almost entirely Karnataka's day.
When NC Aiyappa (first-class average 6.95) was dropped in the slips on 2 soon after, it didn't seem a costly miss. But he went on to a career-best score of 34, and his breezy 74-run stand with Joshi frustrated Andhra. The bowlers made things easy for the pair by repeatedly straying on the leg side, even with a 7-2 offside field. The legspinner Suresh was paddle-swept out of the attack, and Joshi launched a couple of lofted drives to the right of mid-off against the quick bowlers. It was nearly lunch before Karnataka were bowled out for 366; Joshi was the last man out for a well-made 65, his first first-class fifty in four years.
Hemal Watekar started Andhra's reply with a confident punch down the ground for four, but the visitors were in trouble early in the second session, Aiyappa getting the in-form Watekar to nibble one to the keeper.
That started a procession of wickets: captain Gnaneshwara Rao fell lbw to Aiyappa while trying to play across the line, LNP Reddy was trapped on the back foot by a straight one from Joshi, ASK Varma top-edged a half-tracker from Joshi to square leg, and Andhra slid to 42 for 4.
Karnataka were in complete control; none of Andhra's top six were comfortable at the crease, but No. 4 B Sumanth's 35-minute stay was particularly harrowing. Soon after walking in, he was nearly run out going for a non-existing single, two balls later an attempted upper-cut flew just wide of backward point for four (his only scoring stroke), a huge appeal for caught behind off Aiyappa was then turned down, and an awkwardly fended bouncer from Vinay landed inches short of point before he was finally lbw, playing down the wrong line to Joshi.
AG Pradeep also fell lbw to Joshi in the first over after tea, and Andhra were six down, still more than 150 runs shy of avoiding the follow-on. That brought in Suresh, whose partnership with Sai stalled the Karnataka juggernaut in the final session.
Suresh showed his ability to occupy the crease with a battling 46 against UP, and was happy to play second fiddle to Sai, depending on the cut to collect his runs. Sai was more expansive, repeatedly hitting the spinners to the midwicket boundary and taking on the fast bowlers as well, with some pleasing drives and flicks.
Vinay and Aiyappa, so accurate with the new ball, started to struggle with their lines, perhaps because of the left-right combination (the top seven in the Andhra line-up were all right-hand batsmen), and the batsmen helped themselves to some easy boundaries. They also hustled the Karnataka fielders with their sharp running between the wickets, even managing several threes on a smallish ground, to keep the runs flowing at a fast clip.
Uthappa rotated his bowlers around but to no avail, until Joshi rounded off a day to remember with a wicket off the last ball of the day, inducing an edge from Sai to the keeper. Joshi had taken five expensive wickets so far this season and Karnataka were nearly at the bottom of the table with two points from two games. His performance today helped both him and his side shake off their lethargic starts in Ranji Trophy.
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