S. Badrinath and B. Aparajith struck hundreds as Tamil Nadu established a solid foundation on the opening day of its Ranji Trophy encounter against Madhya Pradesh at the Holkar Stadium.
Though the latter nibbled at an Ishwar Pandey delivery to be dismissed caught behind in the penultimate over, TN stood an imposing 294 for three at stumps. While its dominance was largely a result of Badrinath and Aparajith’s brilliance, an error in judgement by MP played its part too.
Devendra Bundela’s decision to field first was dictated by a greenish tinge over the pitch in the morning, but it was a move he was left to regret. While the track did offer threatening bounce for the quick bowlers in the first session, it lost its sting as the day wore on.
Badrinath and Aparajith reaped much rewards for their initially prudent approach. The caution was a result of the manner in which openers Abhinav Mukund and K.B. Arun Karthik had departed. The former was the first to leave when Amarjeet Singh’s length delivery in the 12th over rose a tad higher than expected to find the outside edge and the chance was grabbed by Udit Birla at second slip.
Both sides had made two changes to their playing eleven — Vijay Shankar and Arun Karthik replaced Malolan Rangarajan and M. Vijay for TN, while the host chose to play Salman Baig and fit-again Naman Ojha in Jatin Saxena and Zafar Ali’s places respectively.
Nine overs after Mukund’s dismissal, inclusions from both sides were involved in another wicket as debutant Baig trapped Arun Karthik in front of the stumps.
The ball darted inwards and the batsman seemed undone by the pace.
Despite gaining rewards for sticking to a good length, the MP bowlers failed to maintain their discipline. With no appreciable movement on offer, it wasn’t a surprise that Badrinath and Aparajith feasted on anything full in their 240-run stand which lasted four hours and 40 minutes.
The former found the majority of his runs on the off-side; a couple of drives past cover were effervescent. Aparajith’s aggression became pronounced with time, as manifested by his two sixes — one each over long-on and long-off.
Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: K.B. Arun Karthik lbw b Baig 31, Abhinav Mukund c Birla b Singh 13, S. Badrinath (batting) 126, B. Aparajith c Ojha b Pandey 118, Dinesh Karthik (batting) 0; Extras (lb-1, w-1, nb-4): 6; Total (for three wkts. in 90 overs): 294.
Fall of wickets: 1-33, 2-53, 3-293.
Madhya Pradesh bowling: Ishwar Pandey 21-6-57-1, Anand Rajan 16-1-48-0, Amarjeet Singh 18-4-38-1, Salman Baig 16-2-76-1, Rameez Khan 7-1-36-0, Jalaj Saxena 12-0-38-0.