Ishwar Chaudhary's two wickets (Murali Vijay and S. Badrinath) were the only highpoints on a gloomy day for Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match at the Sardar Patel Stadium here on Tuesday.
Abhinav Mukund (150 batting, 264 balls) and Badrinath (102 off 214) adapted to the conditions quickly after Tamil Nadu skipper Laxmipathy Balaji called correctly, paving the way for his mighty batting line-up to assert itself on day one. At 288 for two in 90 overs, Tamil Nadu is in a position to dictate terms.
Abhinav and Badrinath relished the docile track and speedy outfield to drive the bowlers up the wall. Abhinav (22x4, 1x6) appears focused on a double ton after 364 minutes at the crease. TN opener Vijay's wicket in the first over was a momentary high for Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel.
Chaudhary's first spell gave Gujarat a flicker of hope. With his ability to make the ball move in the air he rapped Vijay on the pad with a delivery coming in off the pitch and then straightening to force the opener to err.
The road went downhill for the home side thereafter as the second-wicket stand grabbed the initiative. Abhinav chanced his arm and collected runs in bursts with a liking for the on-side, while Badrinath messed up the attack in his own cultured style.
Abhinav warmed up on a chilly morning with a fluent drive off the pads to the mid-wicket fence and guided the next ball to the ropes to third man with swift footwork.
Gujarat let him off twice after which the India left-hander shrugged off the dark spots to firm up his image as a tormentor in first-class cricket.
A leg-before appeal by the Gujarat spearhead against him was turned down, leaving a relieved TN opener to exhibit his exhilarating strokeplay.. .
Gujarat did not have variety or experience in the attack to test a domestic achiever of Badrinath's calibre (average 62 in 98 matches).
A glide past gully brought up Badrinath's 28th first-class ton. Chaudhary, who retained his enthusiasm to plug away, then removed Badrinath, deceiving him with a slower one.
Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: Abhinav Mukund (batting) 150, Murali Vijay lbw b Chaudhary 0, S. Badrinath lbw b Chaudhary 102, D. Karthik (batting) 25; Extras (lb-2, nb-1, w-8): 11. Total (for two wkts. in 90 overs): 288.
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-224.
Gujarat bowling: Ishwar Chaudhary 20-3-61-2, Ashraf Makda 13-5-48-0, Faisal Dudhat 13-2-50-0, Priyank Panchal 9-3-14-0, Parth Parikh 29-3-89-0, Jesal Karia 7-1-24-0.