Karnataka tighten first screw: Ranji Trophy league 2011, Mumb-Kar
Can Karnataka tighten the screws on Mumbai after getting an early first wicket, the latter trying to overhaul the 635-for-9-declared total? In the meantime Amit Verma stars while Manish Pandey shines
Day 2: Karnataka 635 for 9 decl. Mumbai 37 for 1
The highlights of Day two:
• Amit Verma scored a well deserved century
• Manish Pandey returned to bat after having retired hurt yesterday, to score a double century
• Karnataka declared at 635 for 9, forty minutes before the end of the day’s play, a decision that stood vindicated when Vinay Kumar had Wasim Jaffer shouldering arms to an inswinger to be trapped leg-before.
• The ‘devil’s advocate’ might ask if the last Karnataka pair should have batted on, especially since Manish Pandey was at the crease, for a possible addition of 30 or 40 runs
Of course, at the fagend of the day and with nine wickets down, it was considered wiser by the Karnataka camp to give themselves at least three quarters of an hour to effect a breakthrough and therefore the declaration was effected. Funnily though, the instructions from the dressing room, soon after Manish got his double century, sounded like ‘Carry on if you like or alternatively, come back if you like!’
The batsmen seemed confused as they first took two steps away from the pitch anticipating that they were being called back but the next instant strained themselves to hear the instructions again. Actually, it was a sensible yet open-ended instruction that on the face of it merely sounded confusing; some discerning spectators seemed amused for a split second; it was that if Manish particularly felt he could boost the score in a short period, he should continue batting.
But one couldn’t help thinking that the batsmen walked off more out of a mild confusion and lack of decision making. Again, the conservative Karnataka fans would just want to be sure that the historically huge run making team Mumbai on its home ground and on a square not offering too much help would not set up a record chase to gain the three points from the first innings lead. There’s no doubt that neither side would try to win outright (by two innings), a pointless ambition considering they don’t need the extra points and that the pitch will not offer much for the bowlers.
Surprisingly, Manish told the press after his century at the end of the first day that it was a “beautiful pitch” and that even if not really offering bowlers help, was maintaining reasonably good bounce therefore implying that it was keeping them in the hunt. Anyway, the first wicket claimed early by Vinay Kumar after Karnataka fielded has already put their fans at rest.
The initial part of the second day belonged to the ebullient and correct left-handed Amit Verma who went on to post a century. It is arguable whether Amit’s first hundred runs (eventually 173) were worth Manish’s whole 200, considering the former batted with middle order partners and also avoided a further collapse but with help from skipper Vinay Kumar’s authoritative half century. Sometimes, another batsman’s first hundred runs is an enabler for your second hundred runs. However, that’s a pure debate for the sheer sake of one. Paramount is that their respective knocks are invaluable in their own ways.
While the Karnataka innings petered to a finish, A Mithun lent more support to the total with four sixes but falling short of a half century.
Their first wicket falling early, Mumbai are showing some resilience, with Abhishek Nayar keeping out all the dangerous balls and Ajinkya Rahane stroking well when offered width. However, the morning may bring several surprises in the form of wickets even as Mumbai try to consolidate their score of 37 for 1.