Formulaic plots aren’t always no-brainers minus layers. Even on a made-to-order wicket at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium — a dry turner, melding red and ashy hues, to facilitate an outright result — there wasn’t a linear pattern to the action on Friday.
A cursory look at the scorecard would inform you that Baroda, electing to bat in its Ranji Trophy Group ‘B’ game versus Tamil Nadu, folded up for 162 on day one. And, in reply, Tamil Nadu was five for no loss when bad light curtailed play.
What it mightn’t tell you is how the host’s indifferent fielding nearly undid a fine bowling effort or how excessive caution paralysed Baroda.
The visiting side’s openers, Dhiren Mistry and Saurabh Wakaskar (68, 154b, 8x4, 194m), established the ‘go-slow’ norm on a hazy morning. Spin was introduced in the 11th over through left-armer Rahil S. Shah.
The 28-year-old, along with Malolan Rangarajan and K.B. Arun Karthick, replaced S. Badrinath (fever), M. Vijay (on India duty), and J. Kaushik.
Both Rahil and Malolan pursued their plans methodically: Rahil was quick through the air — a vital component on a slow surface.
At one point, he went without conceding a run for 31 balls. Malolan went around the stumps to leverage the angle.Dropped catches
Mistry, 22, rated highly by his captain Yusuf Pathan, steered Baroda to 63 for two at lunch combining good-looking strokes with fortune.
He was dropped on 34 and 55, by Aswin Crist and Dinesh Karthik respectively.
It was a forgettable second session for Karthik, who put down Mistry again and also fluffed a stumping offered by Abhimanyu Chauhan.
Soon after, Pathan, on 3, received a slice of luck. A thick edge induced by Rahil and caught by Karthik wasn’t heard by umpire V.K. Sharma.
The ledger was squared when umpire Navdeep Singh Sidhu ruled Pathan out lbw despite an inside edge.
The remaining batsmen tried to graft but eventually perished, left-arm spinner R. Aushik Srinivas severing the tail.
Rahil later said the wicket might “break” on the third day and it’s important for Tamil Nadu to bat long.
Baroda — 1st innings: Saurabh Wakaskar c Arun Karthick b Rahil 6, Dhiren Mistry c R. Prasanna b Malolan 68, Aditya Waghmode st. Karthik b Malolan 4, Abhimanyu Chauhan lbw b Rahil 7, Kedar Devdhar c Abhinav b Rahil 18, Yusuf Pathan lbw b Malolan 26, Pinal Shah c Karthik b Aushik 8, Hardik Pandya c Karthik b Aushik 11, Ketul Patel c Malolan b Rahil 5, Murtuja Vahora (not out) 5, Bhargav Bhatt c Balaji b Aushik 0; Extras (lb-4): 4; Total (in 83.5 overs): 162.
Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-37, 3-67, 4-95, 5-125, 6-133, 7-151, 8-152, 9-156.
Tamil Nadu bowling: L. Balaji 7-2-17-0, Aswin Crist 7-1-17-0, Rahil S. Shah 26-11-49-4, Malolan Rangarajan 28-11-55-3, R. Aushik Srinivas 15.5-5-20-3.
Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: K.B. Arun Karthick (batting) 4, Abhinav Mukund (batting) 0; Extras (w-1): 1; Total (for no loss in two overs): 5.
Baroda bowling: Murtuja Vahora 1-0-5-0, Hardik Pandya 1-1-0-0.