Ranji Trophy: Karthik puts Mumbai on back foot
Dinesh Karthik was first at the nets and the last man to walk out of the practice area during the two training sessions before Tamil Nadu’s Ranji Trophy clash against Mumbai at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground.
The purpose with which he had come here was served as the out-of-favour India wicketkeeper-batsman slammed 167 (19x4 and 1x6) to help Tamil Nadu post 434 in the first innings yesterday.
Tamil Nadu’s Dinesh Karthik plays an off-side shot against Mumbai at the BKC ground yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Mumbai, in reply, were in trouble at 45-2 at stumps on Day Two. Pacer J Kousik took a sharp, low reflex catch off his own bowling to dismiss the double centurion of the last match, Shreyas Iyer for 19.
Karthik, who was unbeaten on 76 on Day One, batted with a silken touch. He hooked, pulled and drove at will. Except in the 90s, when Dhawal Kulkarni beat Karthik’s edge on a couple of occasions, the Tamil Nadu star enjoyed a smooth ride.
Karthik knows yesterday’s innings was just a small step towards winning back his place in the Indian team. “I want to set the bar so high and score so many runs that they (selectors) find hard to ignore me,” said Karthik, who last played for India in an ODI in 2014.
The Mumbai bowlers tried hard to get a breakthrough in the first session, but had no luck. Karthik hit a fine cover drive off Shardul Thakur to complete his third first-class century against Mumbai and first in a decade. “I was a bit unlucky against Madhya Pradesh in the last match. I am happy with the way I batted here,” said Karthik. The 182-run seventh wicket partnership between Karthik and Malolan Rangarajan was finally broken after the lunch break. In the second over of the new session, Thakur succeeded in inducing Rangarajan to nick one to wicketkeeper Aditya Tare.
Fifer for Dabholkar
Three overs later, left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar claimed his fifth wicket of the innings when he got a leg before appeal in his favour as Karthik once again lost his wicket while playing the sweep shot. “It (the sweep shot) has been my enemy and friend. It is a love-hate relationship. It’s a run-scoring shot and I like to play it. I know I have also lost my wicket many times playing that shot, but over the years I have mellowed down and don’t use it too often,” he said.
The Tamil Nadu tail tested Mumbai’s patience for sometime before surrendering to Kulkarni. Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit said they were unfortunate not to get wickets in the first session. “We conceded too many runs (131) in the opening session. Some decisions didn’t go our way, which was unfortunate,” he said.