Ranji Trophy semi-final: More leads Karnataka fightback after umpire 'gifts' birthday boy Pujara

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First Published 25, Jan 2019, 6:31 PM IST
Ranji Trophy semi-final: More leads Karnataka fightback after umpire 'gifts' birthday boy Pujara
Highlights

Star batsman Cheteshwar Pujara turned 31 and was handed a birthday 'gift' by umpire Saiyed Khalid. He was reprieved by him on one but could not capitalise in a big way.

Bengaluru: Fast bowler Ronit More led Karnataka's fightback with a five-wicket haul against Saurashtra on the second day of the Ranji Trophy semi-final on Friday (January 25).

More took 5/54 in 15.3 overs as the hosts kept Saurashtra to 227/7 in 66.3 overs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. This was the right-armer's fourth five-wicket haul of the season. He is also the team's leading wicket-taker in 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season with 35 scalps from eight matches so far.

The visitors are still 48 in first innings arrears to Karnataka's 275. Saurashtra lost three wickets for four runs (223/4 to 227/7) at the fag end of the day.

Star batsman Cheteshwar Pujara turned 31 and was handed a birthday 'gift' by umpire Saiyed Khalid. He was reprieved by him on one but could not capitalise in a big way.

The Indian team's hero in the historic Australia Test series recently, fell to the same bowler - Abhimanyu Mithun, for 45. This time the paceman did not need the umpire's approval as it was a caught and bowled dismissal as Pujara mistimed a pull to a ball which did not rise much.

On the last ball of the 23rd over, Karnataka players were stunned as Pujara was given not out. Mithun's delivery had brushed Pujara's left thumb before going to wicketkeeper Sharath Srinivas, who took the catch.

The entire team celebrated knowing how important Pujara’s wicket was. However, the players were shocked by the umpire's verdict. Even Pujara had looked back to see whether Srinivas had caught the ball or not, but soon he marked his guard and carried on.

Umpire Khalid erred again in the final session of the day when he wrongly gave Prerak Mankad (0) caught by Srinivas off More. The batsman walked off slowly in disbelief.

The quality of umpiring has come under scrutiny and yet again it was seen. In the quarter-final at the same venue, Karnataka and Rajasthan players were at the receiving end of wrong decisions from the on-field officials. With no technology available, players have no other option but to accept them.

Coming back to the action on the field, it was More who brought back Karnataka into the match in the final session with a three-wicket burst (4.3-1-16-3). He sent back the well-set Sheldon Jackson (46), Mankad, and Kamlesh Makvana (1) on the last ball of the day. Earlier, More had scalped Harvik Desai (16) and Vishvaraj Jadeja (5).

For Saurashtra it was wicketkeeper Snell Patel who top-scored with 85 off 131 balls with 15 overs. He and Pujara had a 74-run partnership for the third wicket.

Off-spinner K Gowtham who went wicketless for 50 in his 11-over spell, was stretchered off the ground after hurting his knee while fielding. However, he was cleared of any serious injury and is expected to be fit to take the field tomorrow.

In the morning session, Karnataka, resuming at their overnight score of 264/9, were bowled out for 275 in 100.3 overs. Srinivas remained not out on 83.

Brief scores (Day 2)

 
Saurashtra 227/7 in 66.3 overs (Snell Patel 85, Sheldon Jackson 46, Cheteshwar Pujara 45, Ronit More 5/54) vs Karnataka 275 all out in 100.3 overs (Shreyas Gopal 87, Sharath Srinivas 83 not out, Manish Pandey 62, Jaydev Unadkat 4/56, Kamlesh Makvana 3/74)

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