Punjab in control against Karnataka

Bangalore: Riding on Mayank Sidhana`s 92-run knock, Punjab posted 357 all out in their first innings before reducing Karnataka to 183 for five to take an upper hand on day two of their Ranji Trophy Elite Division Group A match at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Wednesday.

Karnataka now require another 177 runs to avoid conceding the first innings lead with Stuart Binny batting on 69 and C M Gautam on 40.

Replying to visitors` first innings total of 357, Karnataka lost in-form opener Robin Uthappa (0) to the first ball of the innings.

K B Pawan (32), who has been in good nick right through the season, along with skipper Ganesh Sathish (23) then raised 50 runs for the second wicket before the latter was caught by Mayank Sidhana off Bipul Sharma.

Thereafter Punjab struck three successive blows, removing Bharat Chipli (14), Amit Verma (4) and Pawan, to leave Karnataka reeling at 100 for five.

However, Binny and Gautam steadied the boat and put up an unbeaten 83-run stand together for the sixth wicket till the stumps were drawn.

Binny, who has put his hands up whenever Karnataka have found themselves in doldrums this season, slammed eight fours and two sixes.

A lot will depend on this pair if Karnataka, who had tallied 20 points before this game, are to take the first innings lead and confirm a berth in the quarterfinals.

Earlier, Punjab, resuming at an overnight total of 278 for four, failed to consolidate the start provided by their top-order batsmen.

They lost wickets at regular intervals to bring the hosts, who lost left arm seamer Sreenath Aravind to an injury, back into the game.

Harmeet Singh (0) departed without opening his account, giving medium pacer Stuart Binny his 17th wicket of the season.

Amitoze Singh followed Harmeet into the hut, falling victim to a misjudged single.

With the tail exposed, Mayank Sidhana played some forcing shots to keep the Punjab scorecard ticking but he fell eight runs short of a possible hundred.

Sidhana`s 92 was laced with ten boundaries and one six.

With Sidhana back in the dressing room, the Punjab innings seemed headed for a premature end but useful contributions from Rahul Sharma (14) and Rajwinder Singh (15) helped the visitors cross 350-run mark.

Medium pacer C Aiyappa was the most successful bowler for Karnataka, returning with figures of three for 49. K P Appanna and off-spinner Sunil Raju shared four wickets between them.

Brief scores: Punjab 1st innings: 357 all out in 114.3 overs (Mayank Sidhana 92; N Aiyappa 3/49).

Karnataka 1st innings: 183 for five in 64 overs (Stuart Binny batting 69, CM Gautam batting 40; Bipul Sharma 2/35).

PTI

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