Ranji Trophy 2016-17: With breezy century, Stuart Binny nets credits

Stuart Binny smashed 156 runs off just 158 balls to help Karnataka declare at 570/9, take first inning lead over Assam.

Written by Shahid Judge | Mumbai | Published:October 30, 2016 12:31 am
ranji trophy, ranji, ranji score, karnataka vs assam, assam vs karnataka, stuart binny, binny, cricket score, cricket news, cricket Stuart Binny scored 156 runs off just 158 balls for Karnataka against Assam in Ranji Trophy. (Source: Express photo by Kevin D’Souza)

Stuart Binny had all the time in the world. It was just after lunch on the third day against Assam, and the 32-year-old was just four runs short of a ninth first-class century. It’s routine for a batsman on that score to nudge the ball into gaps and complete the milestone with four singles or even a brace of doubles.

But this was Stuart Binny, one of the cleaner strikers of the ball in the domestic circuit. There would be no unattractive singles for the Karnataka all-rounder. Instead, he reverse-swept off-spinner Gokul Sharma with practised grace for a boundary. Off came the helmet and up went his raised bat.

Burying the tension of reaching the three-figure mark, he stepped out on the very next ball and clobbered the overpitched delivery over mid-wicket. This was his preferred method of batting until he perished on156 – his runs coming at almost run-a-ball. With such a strike rate in the longer form of the game, you could be forgiven to wonder why the all-rounder is often in contention for the national team’s Test squad rather than limiter-over versions. “A lot of people tell that to me. I would love to play more ODIs, but the way I see it, it’s about getting the opportunity, and when it comes, to take it with both hands,” he says.

By the time he strode out, Karnataka were already in a formidable position, courtesy of Robin Uthappa and Karun Nair’s 257-run partnership. Binny then forged a solid 105-run stand with CM Gautam. But while he kept losing partners, Binny kept scoring. “It was crucial for me to get a 100 since I had missed out against Delhi. That played on my mind because the selections are round the corner for the Tests (against England). That’s why I wanted to carry on,” he adds.

In his 158-ball innings, Binny exhibited his clean-striking skill, finding the boundary at will through an array of cover-drives, flicks, cuts and that particular reverse sweep. Then there was the huge straight drive over the head of pacer Krishna Das that thumped the centre of the sight-screen. Later, Assam then came into bat for the remaining 18 overs of the day, scoring 48 and losing Rishav Das to a Shreyas Gopal delivery.

Brief Scores: Assam 325 & 48/1 vs Karnataka 570/9 Decl. (Binny 156, Nair 145, Uthappa 128; Arup Das 4/86).