Tamil Nadu missed an incisive bowler while Uttar Pradesh thrived on the batting exploits of skipper Piyush Chawla, who dominated the contest with a brilliant century (114 batting off 236 balls, 12x4, 3x6) that left the home team cornering most of the honours thus far in the Ranji Trophy contest at the Bhama Shah Stadium here on Saturday.
The pitch demanded skilful bowling but Tamil Nadu sorely lacked that punch, claiming only two wickets.
The seamers were awry and the spinners devoid of ideas.
The one-dimensional attack hardly troubled Uttar Pradesh which made the most of the conditions on the third day.
The 114–run first innings lead established by Uttar Pradesh leaves the home team a clear winner.
To expect a miracle on the last day would be a bizarre thought even for the die-hard Tamil Nadu fan.
Chawla’s tenacity was an extension of the trend set by Prashant Gupta, who batted most sensibly this morning when Uttar Pradesh resumed at 117 for five. Gupta, 55, added 18 runs before falling to left-arm spinner Aushik Srinivas. And then Tamil Nadu struggled to strike and by evening presented a haggard sight, drooping shoulders and players just going through the motions.
The inability to penetrate was so pronounced as Chawla and Eklavya Dwivedi garnered runs at will.
The 97–run partnership for the seventh wicket swung the game Uttar Pradesh’s way.
When Gupta fell for a 209-ball 73 (6x4, 1x6), the home team was 92 runs short of overhauling the Tamil Nadu score but Chawla walked to the middle and instilled in his partner the confidence needed to tackle the situation.
Dwivedi was disciplined and Chawla committed to capitalise on the errant attack. Tamil Nadu may begrudge a couple of close calls but there was never a doubt that Chawla and Dwivedi (70 off 175 balls, 10x4, 1x6) were always in control.
There was not a semblance of a chance from Chawla after he was dropped on nine by Abhinav Mukund at gully off L. Balaji.
He paced his innings superbly to carve his fifth century in 93 first-class matches, reaching the mark with a midwicket six off Srinivas.
Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: 297.
Uttar Pradesh — 1st innings: Mukul Dagar c Balaji b Aushik 69, Tanmay Srivastava b Sam 2, Mohammad Kaif c Vijay b Balaji 13, Prashant Gupta b Aushik 73, Parvindar Singh b Aushik 0, Arish Alam c Karthik b Rangarajan 23, Eklavya Dwivedi c Karthik b Aparajith 70, Piyush Chawla (batting) 114, Amit Mishra (batting) 30, Extras (lb-5, nb-6, w-6) 17, Total (for seven wkts. in 158 overs) 411.
Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-40, 3-114, 4-123, 5-162, 6-205, 7-302.
Tamil Nadu bowling: Sunil Sam 16-3-59-1, L. Balaji 22-5-52-1, Crist 23-6-51-0, Rangarajan 34-6-83-1, Aushik 50-15-123-3, Abhinav 2-0-7-0, Aparajith 8-1-28-1, Prasanna 3-2-3-0.