Karnataka stretch lead in Ranji final

Karnataka, who resumed on their overnight score of 230 for none, ended the day at 474 for 7, as KL Rahul scored his third century of the season.

Day 1: Bawne boosts Maharashtra | Day 2: Karnataka in control

Maharashtra dismissed seven Karnataka batsmen on the third day of the Ranji Trophy at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, but at stumps on Friday, the advantage is skewed in favour of Vinay Kumar’s team. Karnataka’s lead is currently 169 runs and Maharashtra only have themselves to blame after a slew of dropped catches on the second day.

Karnataka, who resumed on their overnight score of 230 for none, ended the day at 474 for 7, as KL Rahul scored his third century of the season. Ganesh Satish (117) was clean bowled by Maharashtra off-spinner Chirag Khurana in the first over of the day. Satish’s dismissal saw Robin Uthappa coming out to resume his knock. Uthappa was forced to retire hurt on 10 when he was struck an agonizing blow on the left elbow by Samad Fallah in the fifth over of Karnataka's innings on Thursday.KL Rahul (File Pic) crossed 1000 runs for the Ranji Trophy season.

Rahul, who was unbeaten on 94 at the start of play on Friday, in the course of his 273-ball 131, scored his third century of the season and also became only the second batsman from Karnataka to score 1000 runs in a Ranji Trophy season. Rahul and Uthappa had taken Karnataka’s score to 318 when Shrikant Mundhe had the former caught behind by Rohit Motwani, but not before the 21-year-old Karnataka opening batsman had played some sublime shots and displayed immense concentration despite suffering from fever on the second day.

Mundhe then also accounted for Uthappa when he had the attacking batsman caught by substitute RA Tripathi in the point region. Uthappa hit 10 boundaries and a six in his 108-ball 72 as he and Rahul knocked the confidence out of Maharashtra’s bowlers and fielders. 

Manish Pandey (36) and Karun Nair (44) also looked during their stints in the middle, before they were dismissed by Fallah and Khurana respectively. While Fallah trapped Pandey plumb in front, and Khurana had Nair caught behind by Motwani though the decision was a close affair. Fallah caught CM Gautam off his own bowling between Pandey and Nair’s dismissals, as Karnataka’s scoring rate slowed down drastically.

Fallah thereafter also ended Amit Verma’s dogged resistance when he trapped him LBW, but this was another close decision as replays showed the ball hit the pad in or outside the off stump line.

Shreyas Gopal, unbeaten on 9, and Vinay Kumar (8*), will look to extend Karnataka’s lead by at least another 50-60 runs on Saturday. The second new ball will be available to Maharashtra in the third over on Saturday, and Fallah and the rest of the bowlers will hope to wrap up the innings at the earliest to give their team a fighting chance in the final.

Maharashtra 305 in 104.1 overs (Ankit Bawne 89, Chirag Khurana 64, Sangram Atitkar 50, A Mithun 3-49, S Aravind 3-65, Vinay Kumar 3-81) vs Karnataka 474 for 7 in 158 overs (KL Rahul 131, Ganesh Satish 117, Robin Uthappa 72, S Fallah 3-74, S Mundhe 2-89, Chirag Khurana 2-110).