Karnataka captain R Vinay Kumar defended his decision not to enforce the follow-on against Mumbai as their Ranji Trophy fixture ended in a draw here at the Brabourne Stadium yesterday. Abhishek Nayar (191 not out) along with Ashok Chavan (32) added a record 86 runs for the last wicket, taking Mumbai's overnight total of 354-8 to 441. When Chavan was eventually dismissed by Ganesh Satish, there were murmurs if Karnataka, with 65 overs of play left in the day, would fancy their chances of bowling the hosts out for the second time in the match.
Karnataka players leave the field after their Ranji Trophy drawn tie
against Mumbai at the Brabourne Stadium yesterday. The visitors pocketed
three points for getting the first innings lead
However, Vinay Kumar wasn't keen on asking his bowlers to toil in the afternoon sun after Mumbai had batted for 117.5 overs in their first innings. "In the end, I thought it was the correct decision. If we would have bowled them out a little earlier, we could have thought about enforcing the follow-on. But since it was such a flat track, we didn't see the need to do it. We are happy with three points," he said.
Karnataka must have entertained thoughts of a win when their skipper Vinay Kumar removed Omkar Gurav (20) in just the third over of the morning session. At the time, Mumbai's total was 355-9, still trailing by 280 runs, needing a further 130 to avoid the follow-on. That was only until Nayar, who returned from retirement, frustrated Karnataka, keeping them on the field for close to 21 overs. Karnataka's inability to dislodge the last-wicket stand spoke volumes of the flatness of the surface.
To their credit, they tried everything from a barrage of bouncers from Abhimanyu Mithun to a penetrative spell from S Aravind. However, spinner KP Appanna continued to let his side down.
After paying tribute to Nayar's resilience, who bailed his side out of trouble for the umpteenth time in his first-class career, Mumbai captain Wasim Jaffer rued the number of wickets his side lost on the third day. "The fact that No 11 batsman Ankit Chavan hit four boundaries tells you how flat this wicket really was. We would have fancied our chances of crossing Karnataka's total (of 635-9 decl) had we lost only six wickets at the end of yesterday (Saturday). Things could have been different.
"We are disappointed because the whole purpose of shifting venues (from BKC to Brabourne Stadium) was lost because this wicket ended up being such a flat one. End of the day, these decisions (of venue change) is not in our hands," Jaffer rued.