By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Hyderabad: Jan 31, 2014
It was a day on which Maharashtra hit back in the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 final against Karnataka. Despite seven wickets falling on the day, Karnataka are in the driver’s seat as the top order put up a good show; continuing from where they left off on Day Two.
The major highlight of the day was Lokesh Rahul completing his fourth First-Class ton, third of the 2013-14 season, and also getting to 1,000 runs for the ongoing Ranji Trophy campaign.
In the very first over, Ganesh Sathish, the centurion of Day Two was dismissed in the very first over of the day as Chirag Khurana got one to turn into him. Ganesh missed it completely, and his stumps went for a toss.
Maharashtra were fired up, but Robin Uthappa walked out to deflate their morale. He attacked anything that was in his zone and sped away to his fifty. He did offer one chance though, as a false stroke off Anupam Sanklecha went through the slips before they could react.
Meanwhile, Rahul got to his ton with a magnificent sweep to the boundary. He continued to look good and a shot that stood out was an inside out six over long off. However, he fell for 131, soon after getting to 1,000 runs for the season as he chased a wide one off Shrikant Mundhe.
While Uthappa continued to flay, the task looked tougher for Maharashtra. He ultimately fell when he chased a wide one and spooned a catch to point.
The run-rate came down drastically thereafter and Manish Pandey was dismissed leg-before by Samad Fallah. CM Gautam also fell early as he lobbed a catch back to Fallah. Despite those breakthroughs, Karnataka were way ahead and kept increasing their lead with Karun Nair and Amit Verma holding fort.
The evening session only witnessed attritional cricket from Karnataka with Maharashtra getting two scalps. Verma and Nair haven’t forced the issue so much and are content in blocking it. There weren’t been too many aggressive strokes in the evening although a cover-drive by Verma would stand out. He also smashed Darekar for six over long-off.
Nair was dismissed when he tried to reverse sweep Khurana. And Verma was trapped leg-before by Fallah. Even-stevens on the day, but Karnataka in command.
Maharashtra 305 trail Karnataka 474 for 7 (Robin Uthappa 72, KL Rahul 131, Ganesh Sathish 117; Samad Fallah 3 for 75, Shrikant Mundhe 2 for 89, Chirag Khurana 1 for 110) by 169 runs.
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