Inserted on a surface of greenish hue, Tamil Nadu displayed technique and strength of mind to counter testing conditions on a cloudy day.

Guided by opener Abhinav Mukund’s unbeaten 103, Tamil Nadu finished the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Group ‘B’ contest against Saurashtra on a comfortable 268 for two at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Thursday.

The ball moved around for Jaydev Unadkat & Co and there was fair carry. But the Tamil Nadu openers held firm.

M. Vijay and Abhinav, a right-left combination, played and ‘left’ and often showed the full face of the bat. Abhinav later said: “We went back to what we did a couple of years ago, left a lot of deliveries outside the off-stump and rotated the strike.”

And when a right-left combination rotates the strike, the bowlers tend to err in line. “Soon some of the deliveries were drifting on to my pads,” said Abhinav, who has so far faced 230 deliveries and struck 10 boundaries.

There were several aspects of Vijay’s batsmanship that caught the eye. The fluid back-and-across movement enabled him to get solidly behind the line of the ball. When he found the gaps, he did so with precise footwork and timing.

Vijay (62, 93b, 9x4, 2x6) was looking good for more when he fell to a debatable caught behind decision off paceman Chirag Jani. Importantly, the opening pair had raised 97 in 30.3 overs.

Abhinav strung together partnerships. He and Badrinath (56, 91b, 10x4, 1x6) added 93 in 29.3 overs for the second wicket.

Badrinath’s contest with Unadkat was engrossing. When the left-arm paceman pitched short, he hooked. Soon Badrinath square-drove Unadkat with panache.

The senior batsman fell to a controversial leg-before decision off left-arm spinner Arpit Vasavada. Then, Abhinav and the compact B. Aparajith (40 batting) built another valuable association.

Injury scare

There was a minor injury scare for Saurashtra when Unadkat, bowling round the wicket, slipped at the crease. The paceman left the ground but later returned to bowl for his team.

The scores:

Tamil Nadu — Ist innings: A. Mukund (batting) 103, M. Vijay c Jogiyani b C. Jani 62, S. Badrinath lbw b Vasavada 56, B. Aparajith (batting) 40; Extras (b-2, lb-4, w-1): 7; Total (for two wkts. in 80 overs): 268.

Fall of wickets: 1-97, 2-190.

Saurashtra bowling: Jaydev Unadkat 16.4-4-51-0, Abhishek Bhatt 13.2-2-49-0, Sandip Maniar 11-3-37-0, Chirag Jani 18-6-29-1, Kamlesh Makvana 12-1-55-0, Arpit Vasavada 7-1-29-1; Jaydev Shah 2-0-12-0.

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