Pandey's unbeaten 200, Verma's 173 put Karnataka on top

Manish Pandey's double century, Amit Verma's resolute 173 and the late dismissal of Wasim Jaffer gave Karnataka the upper hand in their group A Ranji Trophy match against Mumbai here at Brabourne Stadium yesterday.

Unstoppable: Manish Pandey pulls one en route to his unbeaten 200 in
a Ranji Trophy match against Mumbai at CCI yesterday. PIC/Suresh KK

Resuming at an overnight total of 316-5, the visitors pummeled 319 runs on the second day before their skipper Vinay Kumar sent his counterpart Jaffer back to the pavilion in only the fourth ball of the innings. The hosts drew stumps at 37-1, trailing Karnataka by a massive 598 runs with two days left.

Amit Verma celebrates on reaching 150. PIC/Suresh KK

Nothing really worked in Mumbai's favour yesterday. For starters, overnight batsman Vinay Kumar (57) was dropped at mid-on early in the day. Vinay Kumar and Verma then took their sixth-wicket stand to 119 until the former was cleaned up by Ramesh Powar.

The returning Pandey, who retired hurt after scoring a century on Thursday, and Verma added 157 runs off just 178 balls � to effectively deliver the knockout blow to Mumbai. Verma struck eighteen boundaries and three sixes before he was stumped off Powar. Not to forget Verma was dropped while on 15. Thereafter, tailender Abhimanyu Mithun struck four lusty sixes to compound Mumbai's problems. Just around this time, a national selector and a Mumbai cricket veteran were discussing 'the need to find decent young fast bowlers for the team's sound future'.

Mithun's quickfire knock was ended by Ankeet Chavan with Pandey stranded on 180. Karnataka went into tea on 614-9 with S Aravind back in the hut. Pandey came back and completed his second-double century before Karnataka declared on 635-9 with a maximum of 13 overs to bowl at Mumbai. The focus was on Ajinkya Rahane, who could make his Test debut in the nearby Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.

The talks doing the rounds were if Mumbai could repeat their incredible feat last week when they responded to defending champions Rajasthan's total of 530 with 625 � to join Karnataka at the top of the table. However, Jaffer's decision to offer no shot to an incoming delivery from Vinay Kumar left Mumbai with a tad too much to do at the end of two days.

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