Bengaluru, Feb 26: Defending champions Karnataka here Thursday set Mumbai a stiff 445-run target to which the visitors responded bravely by making 61 without loss at stumps on the second day of their five-day Ranji Trophy semi-final encounter.
After the dramatic final session Wednesday when Mumbai were shot out for 44 in reply to Karnataka's 202, sanity was restored as the hosts, 10/2 overnight, made 286 in their second essay with night-watchman Abhimanyu Mithun (89, 14x4) top scoring.
Needing 445 to win and time of no consequence, Mumbai openers Aditya Tare (40 not out) and Akhil Herwadkar (21 not out) applied themselves to the task of blunting the Karnataka attack.
The steady start notwithstanding, Mumbai batsmen need to bat out of their skins on the morrow even to save the game, much less win it. But Karnataka need to be wary of the former champions who have a tradition of being fighters.
Karnataka's second innings was built around the 149-run partnership between Mithun and Samarth as the duo piled up runs in quick time. Neither seemed unduly troubled by seam or spin and batted with appreciable freedom.
However, just when Mithun looked certain to get to his maiden first-class century, he lost the leg-stump playing outside the line of an incoming delivery by Shardul Thakur.
Thereafter, the Karnataka innings never had the momentum as Samarth too departed, lured out of the crease by spinner Harmeet Singh to be stumped. Manish Pandey (42) and Karun Nair (28) added 61 runs for the sixth-wicket before Mumbai struck back to restrict the hosts to 286.
Thakur again came away with four wickets for a match haul of eight while fellow paceman Sandhu picked up three.
Brief scores: Karnataka 202 and 286 all out (Abhimanyu Mithun 89, R Samarth 58, Manish Pandey 42; Shardul Thakur 4/69, Balwinder Singh Sandhu 3/45, Harmeet Singh 2/109) Vs Mumbai 44 and 61 for no loss (Aditya Tare 40 not out, Akhil Herwadkar 21 not out).