Karnataka sniff Ranji semfinal berth

Indore: Karnataka strengthened its chances of making it to semifinals of the the Ranji Trophy by taking a healthy first innings lead against Madhya Pradesh as its batsmen complemented the good work done by bowlers on the first day.

Replying to Madhya Pradeesh`s 200 all out, Karnataka were 306 for eight at stumps on day two with a lead of 106 runs.

Wicketkeeper-batsman CM Gautham (29 batting) and Abhimanyu Mithun were at the crease at stumps on second day.

Resuming at 35 for no loss, most of the Karnataka batsmen save southpaw Amit Verma were able to cash in on the starts they got.

Verma was the top scorer with 85, laced with 14 boundaries while Robin Uthappa (44), KB Pawan (49) and Manish Pandey (49) were all dismissed after getting well-set.

Uthappa and Pawan began the proceedings and took the score to 66 before the former India opener played a flashy drive to be caught by Ankit Sharma at point off Anand Rajan.

The hosts soon dealt the second blow to Karnataka when Rajan got into act again and shattered the stumps of Ganesh Satish with an inswinger.

Pawan departed at the stroke of lunch while trying to get his 50th run. Pandey and Amit then steadied the ship.

Amit then shared two more crucial partnerships with Stuary Binny (38) and Gautham to help his side take a handy first innings lead.

Off-spinner Jalaj Saxena (three for 31) was the most successful bowler while Rajan claimed two for the hosts.

Brief scores: Madhya Pradesh 1st innings: 200 all out Karnataka 1st innings: 306 for 8 in 104 overs. (Amit Verma 85, KB Pawan 49, Manish Pandey 49; J Saxena 3/31, A Rajan 2/52).