Mumbai: Forced to follow on, Odisha fought hard to earn a draw against Mumbai as Natraj Behera scored his second century of the match on the fourth and final day of their Group A Ranji Trophy tie on Tuesday.
The visitors, who resumed on 115 for 2 in their second innings, 130 runs behind Mumbai's first innings total of 501, batted sensibly to deny the hosts an outright win. At stumps on day four, Odisha were 356 for 5 with Natraj and Sujit Lenka (0 not out) at the crease.
Natraj, who hit 130 in the first innings, once again showed good application as he rescued his team by scoring an unbeaten 127 off 218 deliveries, laced with 17 fours and three sixes.
Starting the day on 20, Natraj survived a drop catch when he was on 61 by Wasim Jaffer off Pravin Tambe bowling. He used it to good effect and helped his team remain unbeaten at the close of play.
Natraj also put on a solid 147-run stand with Niranjan Behera for the third wicket before the latter was dismissed in the fifth over after lunch.
Niranjan, who too got a reprieve when he was on 28, made a patient 206-ball 59. His knock comprised of nine boundaries, including the one he struck to bring up his half century.
Still nine runs short of equalising Mumbai's total when Niranjan departed, Natraj and captain Biplab Samantray shared a 64-run partnership to take the total to 300. Samantray, who struck two fours and a six during his 68-ball 27, got out with the visitors on 300 for 4.
Abhilash Mallick played a cameo with a quick-fire 40, which included seven fours and a six. From 352 for 5, Natraj and wicketkeeper-batsman Lenka kept the rival bowlers at bay for a couple of overs till play was called off after the mandatory overs.
The defending champions Mumbai, who were seeking their fourth outright victory, were hurt by their young side's inept bowling that was complimented by poor fielding. Tambe, who had picked up two wickets on Monday, was unlucky on Tuesday after two catches were dropped off his bowling.
He finished with figures of 33-8-127-2. Javed Khan, Vishal Dabholkar and Siddhesh Lad took wicket a piece. Mumbai secured three points from this match for a total of 23 points from six games, but have slipped a place from top of the table. Odisha, meanwhile, have gained a solitary point for their effort.
Brief scores: Mumbai: 501 for nine decl (Wasim Jaffer 143, Hiken Shah 170; Basant Mohanty 3/73, Dhiraj Singh 3/117); Odisha: 256 (Natraj Behera 130, Biplab Samatray 39; Javed Khan 4/53, Shardul Thakur 3/54) & 356 for 5 (Natraj Behera 127 not out, Niranjan Behera 59; Pravin Tambe 2/127).
Karnataka earn bonus points crushing Punjab
At Hubli, Gurkeerat Singh's valiant century went in vain as Karnataka humbled Punjab by 10 wickets to get seven points in their Group A Ranji Trophy match at KSCA Stadium on Tuesday.
Resuming at overnight score of 156 for 5, Punjab's batting collapsed like house of cards after Gurkeerat and Gitansh Khera played a superb knock of 157 and 84, respectively.
The visitors folded their second innings at 361, which left Karnataka to chase a modest target of 31 runs to register an outright victory. Punjab had scored 174 all out in their first innings and Karnataka replied with a big total of 505 for 9 declared.
The hosts chased down the motley target in just 4.5 overs with openers Mayank Agarwal and Lokesh Rahul remaining unbeaten on eight and 25, respectively. Karnataka picked up six points for registering an outright victory and bonus one point for winning it with 10 wickets in hand.
With this win, Karnataka are now table-toppers with 26 points from six games, leaving Mumbai behind with 23 points in as many matches.
Earlier, Khera and Gurkeerat raised Punjab's hopes of unlikely draw as the two shared a 186-run stand for sixth wicket but once both were dismissed after striking 29 boundaries among them, Punjab began to drown.
Tailenders Manpreet Gony (14), who has one fifty under his belt in a first-class match, and Sandeep Sharma (11) could not offer any resistance as captain Vinay Kumar's pace broke the ominous Khera-Gurkeerat partnership.
Stuart Binny had Gurkeerat caught by Agarwal behind stumps, which triggered Punjab's lower-order collapse.
Punjab's misfortune, their tail didn`t wag as HS Sharath and Binny ran through the lower order, which prompted Karnataka to chase a low target.
Brief Scores: Punjab 174 & 361 (Gurkeerat Singh 157, Gitansh Khera 84, Abhimanyu Mithun 3/59, HS Sharath 3/75) lost to Karnataka 505/9 dec & 33/0. Karnataka won by 10 wickets
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