Karanataka put up a collective batting display to take a massive 324-run lead against Delhi, who face an arduous task to save the match with two days to go in their Ranji Trophy Group B match on Friday.
Overnight 131 for three in reply to Delhi’s minuscule 90, Karnataka lost night watchman Abhimanyu Mithun in Ishant Sharma’s third delivery of the day but from thereon they batted through the day folding for 414 in 141.3 overs.
The second day saw three half-centuries by three Karnataka batsmen — stand in skipper Karun Nair (53), Mir Kaunan Abbas (52) and CM Gautam 63 not out adding to Mayank Agarwal and R Samarth’s fifties on Thursday as they stretched the lead past 300.
Left-arm spinner Varun Sood (4/80) was the leading wicket-taker for Delhi, followed by Vikas Tokas’ 3-81 on a slow-looking two paced wicket at the Eden Gardens.
Ishant (1/63) looked much better on Friday but could not add to his only wicket of Mithun, having bowled in three short spells of four, four and three overs.
Resuming on three, stand-in skipper Nair made his intention clear earlier in the day hitting Pawan Suyal for a six over third man. He got to his fifty in 81 balls striking left-arm spinner Manan Sharma over long off but only to be caught by left-arm spinner Sood off his own bowling in the next over. Nair’s 89-run partnership with Abbas was crucial as it helped Karnataka see through the tricky morning session and take the team past 200.
Continuing his impressive form, Abbas struck a second successive half century in his maiden first class season as he ensured that there was no further slip-up in another handy 33 partnership with Stuart Binny (32).
Abbas was dismissed lbw by Sood in the last ball before lunch. With Karnataka 258-6, Gautam came into bat and showed fine composure to bat through the day.
“That was precisely our strategy. We wanted to bat full,” the No 8 Karnataka batsman Gautam said after his 77-run partnership with Shreyas Gopal (46).
With Karnataka batsmen ensuring that they bat through the day, it was a hard toil for Gautam Gambhir’s bowlers. Ishant’s spells on the day read: 4-1-10-1, 4-0-9-0, 3-1-10-0 that aptly illustrated the frustrating day for the lanky India frontline pacer.
With a first innings deficit of 324 runs, Delhi who have eight points from two matches are now in danger of facing a humiliating innings defeat with two more days to go.
Brief Scores: Delhi 1st innings: 90; Karnataka 1st innings 414 in 141.3 overs (C M Gautam 63 not out, Mir Kaunan Abbas 52, Karun Nair 53; Varun Sood 4/80).