It has not been a bad season for Robin Uthappa in his new role as the Karnataka skipper. The burly batsman from Coorg came into the quarterfinal with a flawless Ranji season so far and added another feather to his cap when he slammed the third ton of the season against Saurashtra.
Put into bat first, Uthappa and KB Pawan began cautiously, but the Karnataka skipper broke the shackles early to launch some crisp shots. Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Shah might have expected some early movement from the moist track that delayed the game by half-an-hour.
Uthappa’s valiant knock of 139 in their total of 265 at the end of the first day's play. Even Rahul Dravid (26), who was the star attraction, looked patchy as he groped to free his arms and score runs freely.
Dravid thrust himself into a ‘yes-no situation’ in the 33rd over off Ravindra Jadeja and was lucky not to get run out, thanks to Cheteshwar Pujara’s wayward throw. The veteran player poked tentatively at anything outside the off stump and was lucky more than once against Jadeja.
Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers as he picked up five for 71. “Anything around 300 will be a fighting total,” said Uthappa.
Scores- Karnataka 1st inn K Pawan c RA Jadeja b Odedra 21, R Uthappa lbw b R Jadeja 139, C Gautam b Odedra 7, R Dravid c Jogiyani b R Jadeja 26, C Raghu lbw b RA Jadeja 0, V Naidu lbw b RA Jadeja 7, B Akhil b RA Jadeja 11, S Joshi lbw b Makvana 23, R Vinay Kumar not out 22, S Aravind not out 0; Extras (lb 3, w 1, nb 5) 9; Total (for 8 wkts) 265; FoW: 1-53, 2-86, 3-176, 4-176, 5-186, 6-219, 7-220, 8-260; Bowling: Jobanputra 8-0-42-0, Jadeja 18-4-57-0, Odedra 25-7-65-2, Jadeja 30-8-71-5, Makvana 9-2-27-1