Faiz Fazal (110 batting, 387m, 271b, 19x4) anchored Vidarbha to 214 for two on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Group ‘B’ match against Tamil Nadu at the VCA stadium here on Monday. Fading light denied the home team a little over five overs of the quota of 90, but after a tiring day the third wicket pair readily accepted the bad light offer.
Vidarbha needs to score another 230 runs in 90 overs to take the first innings points and surprise the visitor which for the third time in the season has looked bereft of ideas on the bowling front.
After declaring at its overnight score of 443 for eight, the Tamil Nadu skipper L. Balaji deployed himself and Yomahesh as the main seamers and Vijay Shankar and R. Prasanna as relief bowlers.
The sturdy-looking Vijay Shankar was the most impressive among the quartet, but the Vidarbha openers showed the wherewithal to meet any challenge.
Balaji pressed into service leg-spinner M. Ashwin in the 27th over and left-arm spinner Aushik Srinivas in the 42nd, and rotated the seamers in between, but a breakthrough eluded the visitors.
It was a smart fielding effort from Vijay Shankar that ended the opening stand which raised 151 runs in 63 overs. Playing his second season as a professional, former India opener Shiv Sundar Das (62, 7x4) drove Aushik towards mid-off and called Fazal for a cheeky single, but was a trifle late as Vijay Shankar’s throw to the non-striker’s end was sharp and accurate.
Thereafter, Aushik had Urvesh Patel caught by Abhinav Mukund at short-leg.
It was Fazal’s fifth century in the Ranji Trophy. He had scored three for Vidarbha before playing for Railways for three seasons.
“The team depended on us for a good first wicket partnership. The inputs from Das helped me bat right through the day.
“I didn’t look far too ahead, but kept a rolling target of 10 runs. Tamil Nadu conceded a lot of runs to Karnataka and Delhi and today also their bowlers were under pressure.
The more we stay in the middle, they will concede runs,” said Fazal who hit some pleasing cover and straight drives.
Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: 443 for eight decl.
Vidarbha — 1st innings: F. Fazal (batting) 110, S.S. Das (run out) 62, U. Patel c Abhinav b Aushik 12, S. Shrivastava (batting) 10; Extras (b-12, lb-4, w-4): 20; Total (for two wkts. in 84.4 overs): 214
Fall of wickets: 1-151, 2-182.
Tamil Nadu bowling: Balaji 17-6-31-0, Yomahesh 18.4-3-41-0, Vijay Shankar 10-2-30-0, Prasanna 6-1-12-0, M. Ashwin 12-1-47-0, Aushik 17-9-30-1, Aparajith 4-2-7-0.
Keywords: Ranji Trophy