Karnataka lose initiative after gaining upperhand against HP

Dharmasala: Left-arm pacer Sreenath Arvind and Stuart Binny wreaked havoc with the ball to bowl out Himachal Pradesh for 199 before the home team bounced back to reduce Karnataka to 73 for four in their second essay in the Ranji Trophy Super League Group B match here on Thursday.

Arvind (4/50) and Binny (3/22) broke the backbone of Himachal innings, accounting for seven opposition batsmen after the hosts were off to a decent start in reply to Karnataka’s modest first innings score of 254.

At stumps on day two of the four-day encounter, an outright result is very much on the cards with Karnataka losing four of their top-order batsmen in the second innings for just 73, thereby ensuring an overall lead of 128 runs with six wickets in hand and two full days play still remaining.

Young Manish Pandey (26) and Amit Verma (20) were holding the fort for Karnataka in the second innings with an unbeaten 40-run stand after they were reduced to 33 for four at one stage.

Left-arm medium pacer Mohinderraj Sharma, who returned with a five-wicket haul in Karnataka’s first innings, continued his fine showing with the ball, accounting for two rival batsmen giving away 18 runs, while Vikramjeet Malik and Rishi Dhawan scalped a wicket each.

Earlier resuming their first innings at the overnight score of 1/0, Sangram Singh (21) and Hemant Dogra (45) gave a solid start to Himachal with a 71-run opening stand before Arvind and Binny dismantled the hosts with four quick wickets within a span of eight runs.

Binny, who saved Karnataka yesterday with a brilliant 109, carried on his batting form onto the field and was on the verge of registering a hat-trick in the 21st over with back-to-back wickets of Bhavin Thakker and Vinit Indulkar, only to be denied by Himachal skipper Paras Dogra (15).

For Himachal, Hemant Dogra (45), wicket-keeper Manvinder Bisla (33) and Rishi Dhawan (28) were the notable run-getters but it was not enough for the hosts to cross the 200-mark.

Apart from Arvind and Binny, veteran leg-spinner Sunil Joshi picked up two wickets while Abhimanyu Mithun scalped one.

Coming onto bat in the second essay with a 55-run first innings lead, Karnataka were in for trouble as they lost their four top-order batsmen -- Lokesh Rahul, K B Pawan, skipper Gamesh Satish and Robin Uthappa -- in quick succession.

Brief Scores:

Karnataka: 254 and 73 for four in 31 overs (Manish Pandey 26, Amit Verma 20; Mohinderraj Sharma 2/18).

Himachal Pradesh: 199 all out in 54.4 overs (Hemant Dogra 45, Manvinder Bisla 33; Arvind 4/50, Binny 3/22).