Manish Pandey's (101 no) blistering century took Karnataka to 316-5 at stumps on the first day of their Ranji Trophy tie against Mumbai here at Brabourne Stadium yesterday. With a loose grip, subtle wrists and fantastic timing, the 22-year-old looked a class apart.
Manish Pandey of Karnataka plays a shot during the Ranji Trophy match
against Mumbai at the Brabourne Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK
Pandey, who blasted 144 against the same opponents in last January's Ranji Trophy final, picked up where he left off at Mysore, in a knock studded with 13 fours and a six. He retired hurt with cramps on 101, with Karnataka cruising on 202-2, but will resume his knock today.
"It's always good to score runs against a good side. They (Mumbai) have very good bowlers. Ajit (Agarkar) is back, and was in the top of his game. It's a good boost for me as a batsman. I will start from zero tomorrow and look to get more runs," Pandey told reporters. "I was cramping, that's why I had to retire. It was because of dehydration. I've missed quite a few runs. Hopefully, I'll make a good start tomorrow and start again," he added.
For Mumbai, Iqbal Abdulla (2-70) bowled a barrage of short balls that saw him concede 26 runs off his first spell of five overs, but trapped both CM Gautam and Stuart Binny leg-before with identical arm-balls in the final session. "Yes, the arm ball is my biggest strength in these conditions where there isn't any turn or bounce. In such conditions, containing runs becomes important. It's not easy to chase wickets. That's why I can't flight the ball a lot. The arm ball becomes very important," the left-arm spinner said.
It was a day of fluctuating fortunes that started with Wasim Jaffer dropping a sitter at slip off Dhawal Kulkarni. It got better for Mumbai with wicketkeeper Onkar Gaurav taking a splendid catch diving to his left to remove Robin Uthappa (49). The returning Ajit Agarkar went past the outside edge of Pandey on a few occasions.
At 62-2, Mumbai had their tails up but Pandey and Ganesh Satish (83) added 140 runs for the third-wicket until Pandey retired hurt with cramps. Amit Verma (44) was unbeaten with counter-attacking captain Vinay Kumar (21) when stumps were drawn yesterday.