Vasavada's 202 puts Saurashtra one step closer to Ranji Trophy final
Kaverappa takes a five-for but Karnataka's hopes fade away in Bengaluru
Karnataka 407 and 123 for 4 (Agarwal 55, Jose 54*) lead Saurashtra 527 (Vasavada 202, Jackson 160, Kaverappa 5-83) by three runs
Saurashtra are all but through to the 2022-23 Ranji Trophy final, after having taken a 120-run first-innings lead on the fourth day of their semi-final against Karnataka in Bengaluru.
Saurashtra batted out 174.4 overs and ate into the time that Karnataka needed to wipe out the deficit and then bowl the visitors out to secure an outright win, having conceded first-innings points.
The prospect of an outright win for Karnataka seems unlikely, though, as they were effectively 3 for 4 at stumps. While their scoring rate is a healthy 4.61, the cream of their batting line-up is in the pavilion and they will have a maximum of 90 overs on the final day.
Mayank Agarwal, who had made a marathon 249 in the first innings, laid down the marker in the second with an aggressive 55. However, Saurashtra hit back late in the day through their spinners. Dharmendrasinh Jadeja dismissed Agarwal while Parth Bhuth got Manish Pandey three overs later. Karnataka ended the day on 123 for 4, with Nikin Jose unbeaten on 56.
The day had belonged to Saurashtra captain Arpit Vasavada, who converted his 11th first-class century into a superb 202. His 142-run stand with Chirag Jani, who made 72, allayed any fears of a lower-order meltdown that Karnataka would've hoped to trigger in their hope of limiting the lead.
Once Jani was out, legspinner Shreyas Gopal and seamer Vidwath Kaverappa ran through the lower order. Kaverappa, among the finds for Karnataka this season, ended with 5 for 83. In the absence of Prasidh Krishna, who is nursing a back injury, Kaverappa shouldered much of the responsibility and helped bowl Saurashtra out for 527.