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UP batsmen struggling to avoid follow-on

Uttar Pradesh’s batting has been a big flop this season, and the second day of their Elite Group B Ranji Trophy match against Karnataka was no different.

india Updated: Dec 17, 2010 00:40 IST
Sharad Deep

Uttar Pradesh’s batting has been a big flop this season, and the second day of their Elite Group B Ranji Trophy match against Karnataka was no different.

Playing against a formidable bowling attack, UP batsmen, including skipper Mohd Kaif, failed to deliver and were struggling to avoid a follow-on at 163-5 at the end of Day Two against their opponents’ tall first innings total of 416.

The Green Park strip turned out to be the ‘death bed’ for UP batsmen as they lost four quick wickets for 44 in 17 overs. Their previous best on this pitch this season was 197 against Himachal Pradesh.

Opener Shivakant Shukla (5) couldn’t read a swinging delivery from Arvind Srinath in the fourth over and was adjudged leg before, while Eklavya Dwivedi (0) played Vinay Kumar’s out-swinger away from his body and into the hands of stumper CM Gautam in the next over. The trend continued with fellow opener Tanmay Srivastava (8), after hitting a smashing four off Arvind, being trapped leg before by Vinay Kumar.

The highest run-getter for the side this season, Parvinder Singh (22, 32b, 5x4) too departed early, offering a simple catch to Manish Pandey at second slip off Udit Patel, before Mohd Kaif (23, 110b, 3x4) offered a sharp catch to C. Gautam off Sunil Joshi. UP’s position could have been much worse had Karnataka fielders taken three easy catches.

Earlier, CM Gautam proved to be a thorn in the flesh of UP bowlers, hitting a superb century and taking the team’s total beyond the 400 mark. His 185-ball 115 embellished which 12 hits to the fence, was his season’s second century and overall fifth. Playing his 18th first-class match since making his debut against UP in 2008 at Bangalore, Gautam’s knock was a lesson for UP batsmen. He drove, cut and played pull shots with consummate ease before offering a simple catch to Bhuvaneshwar Kumar at short fine leg off Piyush Chawla, as Karnataka’s innings folded up an over before lunch.

The 24-year-old Gautam never allowed the bowlers to dictate terms in the 286 minutes he stayed at the crease. And, in the process, he also completed a record ninth-wicket partnership of 126 runs with Udit Patel, who also hammered the host bowlers on way to a career-best score of 72. All-rounder Bhuvaneshwar (51) and Piyush Chawla (43) were struggling to save the side when stumps were drawn. UP still require 104 runs to avoid the follow-on with five wickets in hand.