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J-K hit back after being bowled out for 160




Parvez Rasool had said rather jokingly on the eve of Jammu and Kashmir's 2014-15 Ranji Trophy Group A fixture against Karnataka at the Karnataka State Cricket Associations' Hubli Cricket Ground that he is the main batsman for his team and going up against the potent bowling attack of the defending champions, other batsmen need to step up. The batsmen failed to put up a good show but the bowlers stepped up in grand style, reducing Karnataka to 123 for 5 after J-K were bowled out for 160. Ram Dayal Punia picked up two wickets while Mohammed Mudhasir, playing his first game of the tournament, returned impressive figures of 3 for 29.

After Karnataka's pacers wreaked havoc, claiming J-K's last seven wickets for just 38 runs in the lunch session, the visiting team's fighting spirit was on full show in front of a sizable crowd at the stadium, which is hosting only its third Ranji Trophy game. Ram Dayal (2 for 17) led from the front claiming both the openers - Karun Nair (2) and Mayank Agarwal (3) - as the lunch session saw nine wickets fall for just 65 runs. Karnataka soon found themselves in a spot of bother with their top order failing to fire once again. The onus was then on Robin Uthappa (37*) and Chidambaran Gautam (14*) to take Karnataka to stumps on day one without any further damage.

Earlier, after being put in to bat on what looked like a green top, Rasool, as he had said, looked the best batsman in the middle in taking his team to lunch at 109 for 3. The allrounder had scored 35 runs in quick time with the help of eight boundaries - three of them coming in one Stuart Binny over and along with Ian Dev Singh Chauhan looked set for the long haul, combining for a 54-run stand for the fourth wicket. But after lunch, the complexion of the game changed drastically.

Openers Adil Reshi and Obaid Haroon had played out the morning session with relative ease, scoring 41 runs in the 12.4 overs. The greenish tinge on the track, that would have prompted Vinay Kumar to field first, proved to be a bit deceptive with the bowlers not able to extract anything significant early on.

Vinay had to his tactics to taste success as he came round the wicket to Reshi and induced an edge off the opener to wicketkeeper Gautam behind the stumps. Sreenath Arvind, who came on to bowl first change, kept things tight. Only eight runs were scored in the next 10 overs after the fall of Reshi with J-K losing Haroon to Arvind. Aditya Pratap played out 43 deliveries for three runs before he was put out of his misery by Binny. It seemed Karnataka's pacers would dominate the session before Rasool opened his arms, hitting eight boundaries in a span of six overs.

Rasool (39) made his intentions of scoring runs clear as he pounced on to the loose balls and even went for some dangerous cuts and slashes that flew between the slip cordon. The skipper went on to outscore Ian Dev (31) by lunch. Five overs in to the lunch session, Abhimanyu Mithun removed both the well set batsman leg before wicket to provide the opening, and Vinay and Binny capitalised. The last five batsmen could only add 35 runs as Vinay picked up four wickets to become the second highest wicket-taker this season eclipsing teammate Arvind. Binny picked three wickets while Mithun finished with two and Arvind one.

In reply, an inspired spell of fast bowling by Ram Dayal had Karnataka under the pump early in their innings. Karun Nair came out to open the innings in place of Uthappa, who was out of the field for 21 minutes and had to sit out for the same period before he could bat. But Nair could only survive 12 minutes before he lost his offstump trying to flick a full incoming delivery from Ram Dayal. The 26-year-old pacer then removed the other opener Agarwal one over later as he edged one to first slip.

Kunal Kapoor and Manish Pandey (33) then steadied the innings with a 53 run-stand for the third wicket. Apart from Ram Dayal and Mudhasir, Umar Nazir, who came in to the XI in place of Wasim Raja, bowled with pace and had the Karnataka batsmen hoping around on many occasions. Pandey, however, hit a few cracking shots down the ground before he was caught behind by a rising delivery from Mudhasir. Uthappa walked in to bat accompanied by a loud cheer from the Hubli crowd, but he saw two of his team-mates - Kunal (23) and Binny (1) - depart in quick succession before he unleashed a flurry of boundaries late in the day, taking Karnataka past the 100-run mark.

Brief Scores: Jammu and Kashmir 160 all out (Parvez Rasool 39; Vinay Kumar 4/37, Stuart Binny 3/37) lead Karnataka 123 for 5 (Robin Uthappa 37*; Mohammed Mudhasir 3/29) by 37 runs.
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