That Karnataka had their first good outing in three days reflected in the game of foot-volleyball they played after stumps on Monday.
A few yards away, the Mumbai team was warming down after being kept on the field for just over five hours in tiring conditions.
Karnataka, who took less than an hour in the morning to dismiss the remaining three Mumbai batsmen, restricted the hosts to 337 in their first innings. Paceman R Vinay Kumar took all the three wickets as Mumbai couldn’t build appreciably on their overnight 302-7. Trailing by 142, Karnataka had cruised to 195-1 in their second knock, an overall lead of 53.
With the day’s proceedings moving at a snail’s pace and the pitch providing nothing for the bowlers, the match appears headed for a draw. Karnataka opener KB Pawan, playing only his second Ranji game, should consider himself lucky to share a partnership of some magnitude with former India captain Rahul Dravid so early in his career. The 19-year-old right-hander showed supreme patience to make 76 not out and shared an unbroken 126-run association for the second wicket with Dravid, who picked up most of his runs behind square on the off-side.
Dravid, who made 40 in the first innings, was unbeaten on 77. Pawan did not show any signs of urgency, and was just happy to be in the middle with Dravid as Karnataka ensured they did not come under pressure by losing early wickets.
Pawan and Barrington Rowland provided Karnataka a much better platform than on Saturday. The duo raised 69 for the first wicket. Former India under-19 batsman Rowland hasn’t quite lived up to the initial promise in seven seasons of first-class cricket. After a good beginning, he played medium-pacer Rajesh Verma on to his stumps, throwing away another chance to build on his 40.
However, Pawan grabbed the chance with both hands. Between fluent strokes, he spent long minutes in defence. An otherwise boring day was enlivened by Dravid, who charged down the track and slammed Powar for two successive sixes over long-on.
There was little Amol Muzumdar could do. The Mumbai captain rotated his bowlers, gave them short spells, even employed part-time bowlers Ajinkya Rahane and Prashant Naik, but Pawan and Dravid did not budge.
While the scoring rate was promising in the pre-lunch session with Karnataka scoring 69 in 20 overs at 3.45 an over, the next two sessions were drab, the scoring rate being 2.32 and 2.04 respectively.