Karun Nair ton helps Karnataka build crucial lead


Karun Nair’s fighting ton helped Karnataka nose ahead in their Ranji Trophy 2017-18 semifinal clash against Vidarbha at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Monday (December 18). Nair scored an unbeaten 148 off 261 and helped Karnataka end the day on 294 for 8 with an overall lead of 109.
After folding up for 185, Vidarbha did exceedingly well towards the end of the first day to reduce Karnataka to 27 for 3. However, they opted to open the day with Rajneesh Gurbani and Siddesh Neral. The move allowed Nair and CM Gautam to settle down with Neral struggling to find his rhythm. Runs started to flow in the first 15 minutes of the day, easing the nerves in the Karnataka camp.
Umesh Yadav was brought in to bowl soon after but both Nair and Gautam continued to frustrate Vidarbha. They scored 139 for the fourth wicket to take Karnataka to 160 for 3. That’s when Gurbani and Umesh collaborated to help their team claw back in the game. Gautam was dismissed for a 123-ball 73 by Yadav.
Soon after Gurbani dismissed Stuart Binny (4), Shreyas Gopal (7) and K Gowtham (1) fell cheaply to leave Karnataka wobbling at 198 for 7. Though Karnataka had taken the lead, it was crucial to build a big one and shut the doors on Vidarbha.
Even with wickets tumbling, Nair held his composure and scored his 13th first-class ton in the 66th over. At 225 for 8, Vidarbha would have entertained hopes of cleaning up the innings early and bat again. But Nair found the perfect partner in Vinay Kumar as they wore it out to take the innings forward.
They batted for 24.4 overs to frustrate the Vidarbha bowlers and picked up a crucial lead before stumps were drawn.
Brief scores: Vidarbha 185 (Wasim Jaffer 39; Abhimanyu Mithun 5-45) trail Karnataka 294/8 (Karun Nair 148*, CM Gautam 73; Rajneesh Gurbani 5-90) by 109 runs.