Murali Kartik had a forgettable outing against Mumbai last week,with the Railways left-arm spinner going wicketless while conceding 150 runs in the process.
Against a different side,on a slightly more favourable pitch,it was a different Kartik on Thursday,as he took his five-for No. 34 5/72 to help reduce Karnataka to 284 for seven on Day One of the Group A match at the Karnail Singh Stadium.
If the visitors were nearing 300,it was thanks to an aggressive century by opener Robin Uthappa and a late revival by Stuart Binny (68) and captain R Vinay Kumar (batting on 43). In between,however,it was a Kartik show. His variations were working well and he was also beating the batsmen as he invited them on the front foot.
Till lunch,the veteran spinner had taken the first three wickets. KB Pawan,coming in on the back of an unbeaten 251 against Rajasthan,was the first one to fall. Next up was G Sathish,pouched by Railways skipper Sanjay Bangar at slips. And while Manish Pandey was a shade unlucky,failing to clear Shreyas Khanolkar at midwicket on a full toss from Kartik,the entertaining first session set the tone of the days play.
While Uthappa was his usual attacking self,bringing up his half-century with a huge six over covers he hit five in the match off left-arm orthodox Nilesh Chauhan,Kartik kept striking the blows. When Uthappa,suffering cramps,didnt come out to bat after lunch having reached the three-figure mark in the first session itself the momentum shifted towards the hosts.
Minutes after lunch,Kartik removed wicketkeeper-batsman CM Gautam and later had Stuart Binny caught at silly point. Uthappa could only add 17 runs in the last session when he came out to bat and was dismissed by JP Yadav on the last ball of the day.
Brief scores: Karnataka 284/7 in 99 overs (Robin Uthappa 117,Stuart Binny 68,R Vinay Kumar batting 43,Murali Kartik 5/76)