There were quite a few droopy shoulders in the Railways dressing room. The reason was obvious: Saturday was the second time in the space of less than a week that the team had been humiliated at home. In just eight overs in the post-lunch session on Day Three,Railways had conceded yet another bonus point to an opposition at the Karnail Singh Stadium. If in the previous match Mumbai had trounced them by 10 wickets,on Saturday against Karnataka,it was even worse as the visitors walloped the hosts by an innings and 51 runs.
Following on,Railways,who started the day at 33/2,folded up at 162 in 59 overs on a turning track a trap they had ostensibly laid for Karnataka but ended up falling themselves into it. They once again failed to come up with any answers to KP Appanna’s left-arm orthodox deliveries. The spinner,who had registered his (then) career-best figures of 5/39 in the first innings,bettered it with a 6/68 on Saturday for a match haul of 11/107.
When the day started,Railways knew that they had to bat out six sessions to avoid yet another humiliation. But that was easier said than done as Appanna once again thwarted any hopes of revival. While Shivakant Shukla and Sanjay Bangar tried to delay the inevitable playing out 15 overs in the morning session once the 33-run partnership was broken,it was all downhill from there.
Appana’s arm ball found Bangar plumb in front for his first dismissal of the day. Seven overs later,he removed Shukla,who was smartly held at short midwicket by KB Pawan. Shukla’s dismissal had a cascading affect on the team and from 66/3 they fell to 109 for 6 before lunch. Yere Goud,the experienced campaigner,too fell trying to cut the left-armer.
Appana struck on the first ball after lunch. A half-forward JP Yadav was caught in his crease,with the arm ball working once again. In the very same over,he had Murali Kartik caught at short-leg. Two overs later,another of his arm balls uprooted Mahesh Rawat’s stumps to cap a wonderful match. Part-time leg spinner Amit Verma sealed the win when he had Arlen Konwar stumped.
Talking to reporters after the match,Appana said: My arm ball worked very well here. As a batsman you would look to play for spin on this kind of wicket so a straightish delivery is a wicket taking one.
The defeat though has forced Sanjay Bangar & Co to go back to the drawing board. “It can’t get any worse than this. Younger players,like Faiz Fazal and M Suresh,to name a few, are not performing. We need to look at other options,” he said.
Brief scores: Karnataka 347 vs Railways 134 & 162 in 59 overs (S Shukla 35; KP Appanna 6/68)