GUWAHATI, Nov 24 - A defiant 130-run unbroken fifth wicket partnership between KB Arun Karthik (batting 105) and skipper Gokul Sharma (batting 59) put Assam in control after a disappointing beginning against Maharashtra in their Group A Ranji Trophy match.
At the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune today, the host team won a good toss and as expected elected to field first. The visitors were soon in trouble losing three wickets with just 18 runs on the board.
Young Rahul Hazarika (6), Pallav Das (8) and Sib Sankar Roy (0) were the batsmen back to the pavilion before being settled down. Maharashtra pacers Anupam Musrutlal Sanklecha and Samed Mohammed Fallah took full advantage of the damp green top wicket and rocked the Assam top order. Assam�s fourth wicket was out in the form of Amit Verma for 32.
But after that Arun and Gokul took control of the situation and defied all the Maharashtra bowlers applying themselves with perfect techniques. Arun today faced 225 balls and smacked 11 boundaries and a six while Gokul�s 103-ball knock was studded with 10 hits to the ropes.
Gokul, while talking to this correspondent from Pune, said the wicket was difficult in the morning as it was quite damp. But as gradually it dried up, medium pacers found it tough to trouble the batsmen. Showering praise on Arun for his compact and responsible batting, the Assam skipper said Arun came to bat in a difficult situation but even than he kept his cool and started moving the scoreboard settling down on the wicket.
Assam 1st innings: Pallav Das c Gugale b Fallah 8, Rahul Hazarika c Motwani b Sanklecha 6, Sib Sankar Roy lbw b Sanklecha 0, Amit Verma c Bawne b Fallah 32, KB Arun Karthik not out 105, Gokul Sharma not out 59. Extras: (b 3, lb 6, nb 4) 13. Total: (4 wickets; 81 overs) 223. To bat: Amit Sinha, J Syed Mohammad, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Krishna Das, Dhiraj Goswami. Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-18, 3-18, 4-93. Bowling: SM Fallah 19-9-47-2, AA Sanklecha 13-0-39-2, DJ Muthuswami 17-5-36-0, SS Mundhe 16-5-45-0, CG Khurana 13-1-40-0, RA Tripathi 2-1-5-0, SM Gugale 1-0-2-0.