In a contest that has thrown up the welcome possibility of an outright victory in favour of either team, Tamil Nadu gained a lead of 43 runs after curtailing Maharashtra to 233 in its first innings on day two of a Ranji Trophy Group ‘B’ encounter.
On Sunday, two individuals — Malolan Rangarajan and Shrikant Mundhe — came up with sparkling all-round performances, doing the double of a half-century and four wickets.
In the morning, Tamil Nadu’s innings lasted eight balls; Malolan (53, 93b, 9x4) added three runs to his and the team’s tally before falling to Mundhe (four for 38).
Maharashtra emulated the home side’s wobbly beginning, losing three wickets for 38 runs. Skipper L. Balaji (four for 28) kick-started the assault by evicting openers Chirag Khurana and Harshad Khadiwale.
With five dismissals (three catches and two stumpings), Dinesh Karthik had a fruitful day. Maharashtra went to lunch, perched on an unsatisfactory 79 for four.
The second session began inauspiciously for the visitor as Sangram Atitkar (36, 4x4, 1x6) succumbed to Malolan (four for 55). Kedar Jadhav (45, 63b, 4x4, 2x6), who scored a triple-ton in the last match, undid his good work with a reckless charge. Captain Rohit Motwani (44, 6x4) and Mundhe (61, 116b, 9x4, 1x6) put on 98 runs in a restorative seventh-wicket alliance.
Even as Motwani earned his corn with the sweep, the 24-year-old Mundhe cut and drove with brusqueness. Once Motwani was removed, things fell apart for Maharashtra.
The scores: Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: Abhinav Mukund lbw b Mundhe 6, M. Vijay c Khadiwale b Mundhe 0, B. Aparajith c & b Bacchav 23, S. Badrinath b Mundhe 0, K. Dinesh Karthik c Motwani b Khurana 29, R. Prasanna b Darekar 56, V. Yomahesh b Darekar 81, Malolan Rangarajan b Mundhe 53, L. Balaji b Fallah 2, J. Kaushik lbw b Fallah 4, R. Aushik Srinivas (not out) 4; Extras (b-8, lb-4, nb-4, w-2): 18; Total (all out in 91.2 overs): 276.
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-8, 3-8, 4-62, 5-87, 6-197, 7-220, 8-234, 9-254.
Maharashtra bowling: Samad Fallah 20-7-52-2, Shrikant Mundhe 17.2-3-38-4, Akshay Darekar 28-7-86-2, Satyajit Bacchav 16-3-48-1, Chirag Khurana 7-2-30-1, Nikhil Paradkar 3-1-10-0.
Maharashtra — 1st innings: Harshad Khadiwale b Balaji 15, Chirag Khurana c Karthik b Balaji 2, Sangram Atitkar c Abhinav b Malolan 36, Nikhil Paradkar c Karthik b Balaji 2, Ankit Bawne st. Karthik b Aushik 0, Kedar Jadhav st. Karthik b Malolan 45, Rohit Motwani lbw b Kaushik 44, Shrikant Mundhe c Karthik b Malolan 61, Akshay Darekar (not out) 13, Satyajit Bacchav c Aparajith b Balaji 0, Samad Fallah c Abhinav b Malolan 1; Extras (b-2, lb-1, nb-3, w-8): 14, Total (all out in 76.3 overs): 233.
Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-24, 3-38, 4-41, 5-94, 6-109, 7-207, 8-227, 9-230.
Tamil Nadu bowling: L. Balaji 17-3-28-4, J. Kaushik 14-3-41-1, R. Aushik Srinivas 14-4-72-1, V. Yomahesh 12-4-27-0, Malolan Rangarajan 16.3-5-55-4, B. Aparajith 3-1-7-0.
Keywords: Ranji Trophy