Karnataka captain R Vinay Kumar's led from the front with a six-wicket haul as the Ranji Trophy champions gained upperhand against Rest of India on the first day of the Irani Cup match despite a gutsy effort from wicketkeepe-batsman Dinesh Karthik.
At stumps, Karnataka were 35 for one in reply to Rest of India's modest first innings score of 201 largely due to Vinay's outstanding figures of six for 47 from 18.4 overs. He was well-complemented by all-rounder Stuart Binny who took three for 35.
Karthik, who has had an ordinary Ranji Trophy season played a dogged innings of 91 and had couple of useful late-order partnerships with Amit Mishra (47) and Harbhajan Singh (25) which yielded 67 and 70 runs respectively.
Gautam Gambhir (22) disappointed one and all as he was trapped leg before by Binny after having done the hard work of surviving the first hour.
Vinay ripped through the Rest top-order before coming back in the final session to polish off the tail on a helpful track where the seamers got a lot of help off the surface.
He trapped Jiwanjot Singh (0) leg before off the very first delivery and then also found the pads of Baba Aparajith (2) and Kedar Jadhav (2) to reduce rest to 12 for three in 4.1 overs.
Vinay bowled his heart out troubling almost all the Rest batsmen whenever he ran in for the fresh spell. He was nippy and constantly attacking stumps getting the ball to come back sharply into the right-handers.
Karthik on his part played a composed innings under pressure, facing 184 balls and cracking 14 boundaries in the process having survived a confident appeal for caught behind behind when the TV replays clearly showed that he had edged the ball to wicketkeeper CM Gautam off Vinay's bowling.
Karnataka's decision to field first paid rich dividends as their pacers used the greenish pitch really well and bowled an attacking line and length to rattle the opposition batsmen.
The visitors were at a precarious 71 for five at lunch after 31 overs after the departure of Gambhir and Mandeep Singh (5).
Rest of India 1st innings:
Jiwanjot Singh lbw b Vinay Kumar 0
Gautam Gambhir lbw b Binny 22
Baba Aparajith lbw b Vinay Kumar 2
Kedar Jadhav lbw b Vinay Kumar 2
Dinesh Karthik c Uthappa b Binny 91
Mandeep Singh c Rahul b Binny 5
Amit Mishra c Nair b Sharath 47
Harbhajan Singh c Ganesh Satish b Vinay Kumar 25
Anureet Singh lbw b Vinay Kumar 0
Ashoke Dinda not out 1
Pankaj Singh b Vinay Kumar 0
Extras (B 2, LB 3, W 1) 6
Total (all out in 65.4 overs) 201
Fall of wickets 1-0, 2-8, 3-12, 4-54, 5-62, 6-129, 7-199, 8-199, 9-201, 10-201
Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 18.4-8-47-6, Abhimanyu Mithun 13-0-53-0, H S Sharath 13-5-34-1, Stuart Binny 15-3-35-3, Shreyas Gopal 3-0-22-0, Manish Pandey 3-1-5-0
Karnataka 1st innings:
Robin Uthappa c Jadhav b Dinda 0
Lokesh Rahul not out 28
Ganesh Satish not out 7
Total (1 wicket in 14 overs) 35
Fall of wickets: 1-0
Bowling: Ashoke Dinda 5-1-19-1, Pankaj Singh 6-3-10-0, Anureet Singh 2-0-5-0, Amit Mishra 1-0-1-0.
Image: Vinay Kumar
Photograph: Pal Pillai/Getty Images