Shreyas Gopal notched up his fourth first-class hundred with an unbeaten 150 as Karnataka piled on a massive first innings total of 570 to take a huge 397-run lead against Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final on Saturday. The 24-year-old all-rounder faced 274 balls and struck 11 fours to become the lone centurion in the Karnataka first innings that saw four other batsmen cross the 50-run mark, including no. 11 Arvind Sreenath (51), without reaching three figures.
Facing an imposing task of neutralising the deficit and setting a challenging target for Karnataka, 41-time winners Mumbai floundered for the second time in the match to close day three of the five-day game at 120 for 3 in 44 overs with Suryakumar Yadav making a fighting, unconquered 55 in 115 balls. Giving Yadav company at close was Akash Parkar (3).
Mumbai, trailing Karnataka by 277 runs with seven wickets in hand, face a Herculean task to set a challenging fourth innings score for eight-time champions to chase over the last two days of the game at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha. The day began with Karnataka already sitting pretty at 395 for 6 with skipper Vinay Kumar on 31 and Shreyas Gopal on 80.
Debutant Shivam Malhotra sent back Kumar quickly this morning, but Mumbai was frustrated by next batsman Krishnappa Gowtham (38) who put on 73 runs for the eighth wicket with Shreyas and later the last man Arvind who used the long handle to good effect.
Shreyas and Arvind, joining hands with the score at 478, did not get separated till they added 92 runs against the insipid Mumbai attack before Malhotra ended the stand as well as the innings with the scalp of the no. 11 batsman who clouted 1 six and 9 fours in his 41-ball knock.
For Mumbai, Shivam Dube did not add any wicket to his five-wicket haul of yesterday, Malhotra finished with three wickets while pacer Dhawal Kulkarni ended up with 2 for 105. The Mumbai second innings was off to a rocky start with openers Prithvi Shaw (14) and Jay Bista (20) dismissed cheaply for the second time in the match.
From 34 for 2, Yadav and Akhil Herwadkar (26) revived the inning with a partnership worth 70 before the latter flicked a short ball from offie Gowtham to short mid-wicket fielder to depart just before stumps.
Vidarbha in control after Rajneesh Gurbani heroics against Kerala
Medium pacer Rajneesh Gurbani took a five-wicket haul to bowl out Kerala for 176 before Vidarbha finished Day 3 on 77 for one, extending their overall lead to 147 runs in a Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match. At stumps, captain Faiz Fazal was unbeaten on 51, while Akshay Wakhare was on seven. Resuming on 32 for 2, Kerala kept losing wickets at regular interval in reply to Vidarbha's first-innings total of 246 with Gurbani (5/38 in 14 overs) wreaking havoc. Overnight batsman Jalaj Saxena top-scored with 40. He along with Rohan Prem (29) stretched their overnight stand to 47 before the latter got out.
Saxena then coupled with Sanju Samson (32) to put on 44 runs for the fourth wicket and take Kerala's score beyond 100. But Samson's dismissal triggered a collapse and Kerala went from 115 for 3 to be bundled out for a meagre 176 with Gurbani cutting through the middle and lower order.
Having taken a 70-run first innings lead, Vidarbha started their second innings on a positive note with Fazal and Sanjay Ramaswamy (14) adding a 53-run opening stand. Thereafter Wakhare, the nightwatchman, hung around with his captain to ensure that Vidarbha did not lose any more wicket till the close of play.
With PTI Inputs.