Robin Uthappa cracks first ton of Ranji season, puts Karnataka in command

Mysuru: India discard Robin Uthappa today cracked his first century of the season to help Karnataka gain a 168-run lead after they declared their first innings at 400 for nine against Odisha on the third day of their Group A Ranji Trophy cricket match played here.

India batsman Robin Uthappa. Pic/AFP
India batsman Robin Uthappa. Pic/AFP

Trailing by 168 runs, Odisha were zero for one in their second innings when the umpires called off the day's play due to bad light. Nataraj Behera and first innings centurion Govinda Poddar were batting on zero as opener Rajesh Dhuper (0) lost his wicket to Vinay Kumar in the very first over of their second innings.

Karnataka, who registered their first outright win against Rajasthan in their previous match, would go for the second outright victory this season when they take the field on fourth and final day of the match tomorrow.

Uthappa smashed a sparkling 148 runs off 257 balls with 11 boundaries and two sixes, and Karun Nair scored a useful 73 runs off 164 balls with six boundaries and a six. The duo stitched a 169-run partnership for the fourth wicket, which took the match away from the hands of Odisha.

After Odisha succeeded in breaking Nair and Uthappa's partnership, the visitors did well to restrict the hosts by bagging six wickets for 103 runs, with slow-left-arm orthodox Dhiraj Singh (3/156) leading the fightback and ably supported by right-arm medium Suryakant Pradhan (3/94).

Basant Mohanty and Biplab Samantaray claimed two and one wicket respectively. As Singh and Pradhan picked up wickets at regular intervals, lower-order batsmen including Chidamabarm Gautam (20), Stuart Binny (4) and Shreyas Gopal (13) failed to capitalise on Uthappa-Nair partnership.

Resuming at 255 for three, Karnataka soon lost Nair after he added 21 runs to his overnight score of 52. Left-armer Singh had him caught by Pratik Das. Binny lasted for seven balls and was cleaned up by Samantaray after he scored four.

Gautam was out for 20 as he became another victim of Singh. Gopal and Jagadeesha Suchith did not last long and fell to Pradhan and Singh rather quickly which prompted Vinay to declare the innings.

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