HYDERABAD: Karnataka made confident strides towards the Ranji Trophy title as they served up an all-round show to peg sloppy Maharashtra on to the backfoot at the Uppal Stadium, here on Thursday. It was an eventful second day that saw a batting collapse, an elbow injury, several dropped catches and finally a big stand between Karnataka’s Ganesh Satish and Lokesh Rahul.
After Karnataka had taken five Maharashtra wickets for just 33 runs in the first session, packing them off for 305, Ganesh Satish (117*) and Lokesh Rahul (94*) combined for 216 runs, eating into the deficit, which stood at 75 at close, with a first innings lead more than a distinct possibility. The pair came together when opener Robin Uthappa (10) was struck an agonizing blow on the left elbow by Samad Fallah in the fifth over of Karnataka's innings, and chose to retire hurt with his team’s score on 14.
If they were progressively shut out of the contest, Maharashtra had only themselves to blame. Rahul was dropped thrice, while Satish received two reprieves, one of them when he had scored 6. Two of the drops were return catches to Anupam Sanklecha, one was fluffed by Ankit Khadiwale at gully, while Sangram Atitkar enacted a juggling act at mid-wicket, before finally dropping it.
Late on the evening, Satish cut Atitkar for his 13th boundary to reach his sixth First Class ton, with Rahul at the other end also looking good for three figures. Play was extended by thirty minutes, and the extension only served to compound Maharasthra’s misery.
Karnataka had earlier needed less than 15 overs with the relatively new ball to skittle out the remaining five Maharashtra wickets. On the first delivery of the morning Abhimanyu Mithun shattered Ankit Bawne’s stumps with a sharp in-cutter. Bawne, 89 overnight, could only look on at the wreck, before he had to trudge off.
Sreenath Aravind, bowling left-arm seam, then took out two in as many overs. Shrikant Mundhe (7) edged to the right of slip, and Manish Pandey flung himself horizontally to complete a tough catch. Aravind struck again when he had Atitkar, who had just completed a half-century, caught down the leg-side. Skipper Vinay Kumar was rewarded with the last two – Sanklecha and Akshay Darekar – as Maharashtra were wrapped up for 305.
Maharashtra 305 in 104.1 overs (Khurana 64, Bawne 89, Atitkar 50; Vinay Kumar 3/81, Mithun 3/49, Aravind 3/65) vs Karnataka 230 without loss in 68 overs (Satish 117*, Rahul 94*).
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