Ranji Trophy semi-final: Mumbai struggling for survival in Ranji against Karnataka
Bengaluru, Feb 27 (IANS) Battling long and hard, Mumbai were 277/6 chasing a target of 445 against defending champions Karnataka at stumps on the third day of the Ranji Trophy semi-final here on Friday.
With two more days remaining in the game and still requiring 168 more runs, 40-time champions Mumbai face a Herculean task to avoid defeat while Karnataka will close in on the kill on Saturday.
For Mumbai, a lot will depend on the two not out batsmen Siddhesh Lad (41) and Abhishek Nayar (2), who is still to recover fully from a blow on the head he suffered on the first day and had to be hospitalised overnight as a precaution.
Mumbai, resuming at their overnight score of 61 for no loss, were far too defensive. Opener and skipper Aditya Tare set the trend as he compiled 98, putting on 79 for the first wicket with Akhil Herwadkar (31) and 76 for the second with Shreyas Iyer (50, 7x4).
Yet the Mumbai batsmen were unable to step up the pace and their defensive approach only helped Karnataka to maintain a firm grip on the proceedings. Tare played a few pleasing drives and, when looking set for a century, edged Sreenath Arvind to stand-in wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa.
Thereafter, Karnataka came up with a double strike as an overly defensive Surya Kumar Yadav (36) nicked Abhimanyu Mithun to Uthappa and then skipper Vinay Kumar, the first innings hero with a haul of six wickets, removed Nikhil Patil (0) in the next over to leave Mumbai tottering at 237/5.
Young leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal followed it up with a vital blow by knocking over Wilkin Mota (9), who failed to read a googly. Abhishek Nayar, who did not bat in the first innings, walked in and looked anything but comfortable as he took 41 balls to score just two runs.
Brief scores: Karnataka 202 and 286 vs Mumbai 44 and 277/6 (Aditya Tare 98, Shreyas Iyer 50, Siddhesh Lad 41 not out; Abhimanyu Mithun 3/49).