A struggling Karnataka came out of the disaster through three half centuries made by Manish Pandey, Shreyas Gopal and Sharath and made 264/9 at stumps against Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy semi-finals on Thursday.
Jaydev Unadkat's four-wicket haul was highlight of the first half the game at the M Chinnaswamy stadium. After starting batting, Karnataka got off to a bad start by losing four wickets back to back and were reeling at 30 for 4. But three back-to-back half-centuries from number 5, 6 and 7 - Manish Pandey (62), Shreyas Gopal (87) and S Sharath (74*) - bailed Karnataka out.
Unadkat ended with 4 for 50 while off-spinner Kamlesh Makvana got 3 for 73. The first half of the day was all about Jaydev Unadkat running through the Karnataka top order. The pitch had some juice early in the day and the Saurashtra captain got the ball to talk, bowling with zip and accounting for R Samarth, Mayank Agarwal and K Siddharth leaving Karnataka 19 for 3.
Saurashtra had their tails up but Pandey and Shreyas Gopal arrested the slide. Pandey counter-attacked, like he had done in the quarter-final against Rajasthan, and made 62 off 67 with four fours and three sixes.
Unadkat broke the 106-run stand after the lunch break, bowling Pandey from around the stumps and leaving Karnataka in trouble again at 136 for 5. Yet again, Karnataka had a rescue act with Gopal and S Sharath adding 96 for the sixth wicket.
Gopal was fortunate to be dropped early on 33, but used the chance to settle in against the spinners. Sharath too gave him good company as Karnataka ended the second session losing just one wicket.
Saurashtra got on top again in the third session, courtesy Kamlesh Makvana's triple strikes. The off-spinner's wickets were also a result of some poor shots. Gopal first pulled and missed a not-so-short ball to fall on 87. K Gowtham was dropped on 0 at mid-off but failed to use his reprieve and edged to slip for 2. Abhimanyu Mithun then slogged to mid-off, leaving Sharath watching helplessly from the other end.