BENGALURU: Seventeen wickets fell on the first day of the Ranji Trophy Group B encounter between Karnataka and Baroda at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday. The pitch proved to be tricky for both teams. There was something for the bowlers throughout and the 22-yard strip also became slower as the day progressed.
Poor shot-making did not help the batsmen’s cause either. Baroda captain Krunal Pandya, who walked in at No 5, fell playing an attacking shot first ball and Karnataka’s KV Siddharth danced down the track to spinner Bhargav Bhatt and handed an easy catch to mid-off when his team was cruising.
Even Krishnappa Gowtham played a poor shot to get out. But despite all these, Karnataka, who dismissed Baroda for 85, were 165 for seven, having taken a lead of 80 runs.
“We bowled well in the first innings, got them all out. But I think as a batting unit we should have done much better,” said Abhimanyu Mithun, who remained not out on nine.
Karun Nair & Co might have their noses ahead, but credit goes to their bowlers. After Nair won the toss and decided to bowl, all eyes were on Prasidh Krishna, who was playing his first game after October. There were no signs of rustiness as the pacer picked up the first two wickets, reducing Baroda to 11 for two.
Leader of the pace unit, Mithun ran through the middle-order, dismissing Deepak Hooda, Krunal and Abhimanyu Singh in four balls. They were tottering at 38 for five after which Gowtham sent back Ahmadnoor Pathan, Kohli and Viraj Bhosale. Besides opener Pathan (45) and Hooda (20), none of the Baroda players reached double digits. Five of them were out for zero.
When Karnataka came out to bat, Ravikumar Samarth and Devdutt Padikkal were cautious, but they were out inside the first 15 overs. A 61-run partnership between Nair and Siddharth put them in a decent position.
However, things deteriorated in the final session. They were reduced to 110 for six, which included the big wickets of Siddharth and Nair (47). After Gowtham’s departure, Srinivas Sharath and Mithun saw off the last few overs.
Though Karnataka have taken the first-innings lead, this match will in all likelihood produce a result. The second day might determine which way things are headed.
“If we manage to add around 30-40 runs, we will have a lead of more than 100. If we take wickets with the new ball, Baroda will be under pressure. Prasidh is back and the fast bowlers are bowling well. The match is in our hands,” said Mithun.