No one knows what Stuart Binny had for breakfast on Monday morning. When he came out to bat in the afternoon, he seemed to be in an attacking mood right from the word go. By the end of second day's play of the Irani Cup, Binny's power-packed unbeaten 115 (107b, 13x4, 3x6) virtually took the match away from Rest of India at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here.
Binny's entertaining century was so impressive that half-centuries from Ganesh Satish and Karun Nair virtually went unnoticed. Binny and Nair put on 187 runs off 178 balls for the fifth wicket that really turned the tide in Karnataka's favour.
At 390/5, Karnataka have a healthy lead of 189 runs. Things can only get better for the hosts from here. Looking at Binny's devastating form, Rest can only hope for a miracle in the days to come.
Resuming at their overnight total of 35/1, it was important for Karnataka to surpass Rest's first total of 201 and then change gears to take a sizeable lead. Maintaining a steady run rate right through all the three sessions, Karnataka batsmen made mincemeat of Rest attack.
With Rahul (35) and Manish Pandey (36) back in the pavilion, Rest would have hoped to push R Vinay Kumar-led team on the defensive. But a couple of missed chances on either side of lunch was never going to help their cause.
Satish, who was involved in useful partnerships with Pandey and Nair, departed after a well-made 84 (180b, 11x4), becoming Harbhajan Singh's first and only victim of the day. The hard-working Pankaj Singh, who looked menacing at times, was well rewarded with the wicket of Pandey.
Binny has a reputation of being a dominating cricketer. Pace or spin, the all-rounder showed scant respect. With Nair playing a watchful game at the other end, Binny toyed with Rest attack. Harbhajan and leg-spinner Amit Verma bore the brunt of Binny's savage attack.
Reaching his 50 off just 45 balls, Binny became more aggressive in the last session. Hoping to stem the run flow, Harbhajan took the second new ball but that proved to be unproductive as run flow continued unabated. Binny soon reached his three-figure mark, much to the delight of his teammates. Close on the verge of reaching a hundred, Nair (92, 161b, 12x4), who has scored three centuries in the last four matches, played one on to the stumps off Pankaj for his second wicket.
Giving due credit to Karnataka batsmen, Rest captain Harbhajan said, "On the first day, it was a tough wicket to bat on but it was not the case on the second day. They really batted well. Our bowlers tried hard to take wickets but they did not succeed. That is the way game goes."