Uthappa blazes before Karthik puts brakes on Karnataka
New Delhi: Robin Uthappa scored a blazing century but suffered from cramps as Karnataka finished the first day`s play at 284 for seven against Railways in a Ranji Trophy Elite Group match at the Karnail Singh Stadium.
For Railways, old guard Murali Karthik (5/76) again proved his worth as he got his 34th five-for in first class cricket on a track from which he extracted sharp turn beating the bat on a number of occasions.
However the first session belonged to Uthappa who played in his characteristic attacking manner. There were no half measures as he attacked the spin trio of Karthik, Arlen Konwar and Nilesh Chauhan with equal disdain. He scored his first 50 in 62 deliveries and the next 50 came off just 46 balls. His innings of 117 (12th first-class century) contained 10 boundaries and five sixes.
The best of his five sixes was the inside out lofted rive over extra cover off Chauhan`s bowling to reach his 50. He was most severe on offie Konwar who was hit for three sixes – one over long off, the next over long on and the third over deep mid-wicket.
He reached his century with a lofted shot off Karthik. Such was his dominance that in pre-lunch session Karnataka scored 140 for three and Uthappa was batting on 100.
But as he started suffering from cramps, he didn`t come out to bat in the post-lunch session and suddenly Railways were back in the game. It started with a poor dismissal of Manish Pandey who slapped a full-toss from Karthik straight to Shreyas Khanolkar at mid-wicket. This was after Ganesh Sathish (26) edged a classical left-armer`s delivery from Karthik to Sanjay Bangar at first slip after adding 101 runs for 2nd wicket with Uthappa.
The difference between time Uthappa was absent can be gauged by the fact that only 119 runs were scored in 49.2 overs in that period.
The post-lunch session saw quick dismissals of CM Gautham (7) and Amit Verma (8) as Karnataka slumped to 165 for five.
But Stuart Binny (68, 138 balls, 9x4) and skipper R Vinay Kumar (43 bating, 3x4) added 94 runs to stabilise the proceedings. Binny continued his good form from the last match before he became Karthik`s fifth victim caught by Khanolkar at slips.
Uthappa came in at the fall of sixth wicket but wasn`t exactly in his free-flowing self and finally edged one off JP Yadav to Karthik in the slips.
Karnataka 284/7 in 99 overs (Robin Uthappa 117, Stuart Binny 68, R Vinay Kumar 43 batting, Murali Karthik 5/76).