Brushing aside early casualties, Tamil Nadu compiled 273 for nine and escaped embarrassment against Maharashtra on day one of a Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy match, here on Saturday.
Having opted to take first strike, Tamil Nadu’s fortunes were dipping at 87 for five. It was left to V. Yomahesh (81, 130b, 167m, 8x4, 3x6) and R. Prasanna (56, 118b, 150m, 9x4) to put their side on an even keel: they collected 110 runs off 190 balls. Malolan Rangarajan (50 batting, 86b, 120m, 9x4) provided some chutzpah towards the end. The bowling honours were cornered by seamer Shrikant Mundhe (three for 38).
The most striking aspect was the presence of grass patches and the resultant bounce and deviation off the wicket in the morning.
Tamil Nadu was reduced to eight for three before the clock struck 10 — Mundhe, the successful bowler on all the occasions. Opener Murali Vijay, released from the Indian squad, lasted just two deliveries: his edge was pouched by Harshad Khadiwale at first slip.
Khadiwale, though, dropped Abhinav Mukund’s nick (on six) off left-armer Samad Fallah. Nevertheless, Abhinav departed in the next over, adding nothing to his tally. Soon, S. Badrinath’s stumps were felled by a ball that seamed away a touch.
B. Aparajith (23) and K. Dinesh Karthik (29) eked out 54 runs before a freakish dismissal accounted for the former. Aparajith’s cut deflected off silly point and landed in the arms of the bowler, left-arm spinner Satyajit Bacchav.
Karthik, caught at sweeper cover off a no-ball earlier, was snared behind.
Yomahesh and Prasanna melded prudence with fearlessness. The 30-year-old Prasanna, whose batting bears a likeness to Simon Katich’s, pulled with comfort. His reputation as a man for crises (think his hundred against Mumbai in the Ranji semifinal last season) remained unharmed.
Yomahesh thunked the ball, favouring long-on and mid-wicket. After the duo was bowled by the left-arm spin of Akshay Darekar, the lower order’s obstinacy and a sprinkling of luck ensured Tamil Nadu wasn’t bowled out, just yet.
Before start of play, Tamil Nadu's players and support staff observed a minute’s silence in the memory of M.Z. Tanveer, Sports Reporter of Deccan Chronicle, who passed away recently.
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 (batting) 50, L. Balaji b Fallah 2, J. Kaushik lbw b Fallah 4, R. Aushik Srinivas (batting) 4, Extras (b-8, lb-4, nb-4, w-2): 18; Total (for nine wkts. in 90 overs): 273.
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 19-7-49-2, Shrikant Mundhe 17-3-38-3, Akshay Darekar 28-7-86-2, Satyajit Bacchav 16-3-48-1, Chirag Khurana 7-2-30-1, Nikhil Paradkar 3-1-10-0.
Keywords: Ranji Trophy