An amalgamation of helpful conditions and purposeful seam bowling helped Tamil Nadu secure a 197-run lead after it bowled out Madhya Pradesh for 289 on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘B' match on Friday. The visitor, despite reducing Tamil Nadu to 30 for two in the second innings, continues to remain behind the eight ball.
Abhinav Mukund and S. Badrinath were the casualties late in the day, both getting out leg-before. M. Vijay retired hurt on five after he appeared to have some discomfort on his left wrist. The batsman later told The Hindu he had hurt himself while fielding in the slips and confirmed that he would be fit to bat on Saturday.
Earlier, Madhya Pradesh's quest to establish a consistent pattern of solidity was boosted by a 71-run stand between opener Zafar Ali and Jalaj Saxena (43, 9x4). The harmonious build-up was soon disrupted when Saxena was trapped in front by a sharp in-dipper from Balaji.
Murtaza Ali did no better against the unremitting hostility shown by Tamil Nadu's quickies — a nick to the ‘keeper off J. Kaushik was the end result. Meanwhile, Zafar abandoned flashy stroke-play for a more diligent approach. The diminutive 24-year-old — cashing in on a dropped catch by Vijay on Thursday — stitched together handy partnerships with Rameez Khan and Ankit Sharma.
The home side's intensity withered during this period. Ankit was let-off twice even as off-spinner Malolan Rangarajan (five no-balls) continued to have problems of over-stepping. Also, Balaji, quite oddly, held back the pacers for a considerable time after lunch.
Just as the momentum was tilting towards Madhya Pradesh, there were a slew of dismissals. Zafar's dreams of a maiden century were thwarted when Yomahesh induced a snick. Some unfettered slogging from Pandey entertained the small crowd, which offered generous encouragement, before the innings reached its end.
The scores: Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: 486.
Madhya Pradesh – 1st innings: Zafar Ali c Dinesh Karthik b J. Kaushik 98, Naman Ojha c Dinesh Karthik b Balaji 0, Mohnish Mishra b J. Kaushik 5, Devendra Bundela lbw b Rahil Shah 8, Jalaj Saxena lbw b Balaji 43, Murtaza Ali c Dinesh Karthik b J. Kaushik 5, Ramiz Khan c Yomahesh b Malolan Rangarajan 37, Ankit Sharma run out 14, T. Sudhindra (not out) 13, Amarjeet Singh lbw b Yomahesh 6, Ishwar Pandey b Malolan Rangarajan 22; Extras (b-14, lb-4, nb-20): 38. Total (in 101.2 overs): 289.
Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-19, 3-36, 4-107, 5-117, 6-190, 7-240, 8-241, 9-259.
Tamil Nadu bowling: L. Balaji 14-4-40-2, J. Kaushik 21-7-48-3, V. Yomahesh 20-4-78-1, Rahil Shah 24-10-46-1, Malolan Rangarajan 20.2-5-56-2, M. Kaushik Gandhi 2-0-3-0.
Tamil Nadu – 2nd innings: Abhinav lbw b Ishwar Pandey 8, M. Vijay (retired hurt) 5, M. Kaushik Gandhi (batting) 2, S. Badrinath lbw T. Sudhindra 0, K. Dinesh Karthik (batting) 14; Extras (lb-1): 1. Total (for two wickets in 12 overs): 30.
Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-15.
Madhya Pradesh bowling: T. Sudhindra 6-2-15-1, Ishwar 5-1-13-1, Amarjeet 1-0-1-0.
Other scores (third day): Elite Group ‘A': At Shimoga: Karnataka 314 & 158 for two in 56 overs (Ganesh Satish 70 batting, Amit Verma batting 46) vs Uttar Pradesh 419 in 116.4 overs (M. Kaif 152, Parvinder Singh 46, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 56, Amir Khan 67 n.o.).
At Mumbai: Punjab 226 & 203 for four in 60 overs (Sarul Kanwar 48, Mayank Sidhana 57, Uday Kaul 63 batting) vs Mumbai 430 in 124.3 (Kaustubh Pawar 46, Wasim Jaffer 82, Suryakumar Yadav 64, Ankeet Chavan 73, Ramesh Powar 81).
At Delhi: Saurashtra 175 & 172 bt Railways 81 & 149 in 51.1 overs (Ashish Yadav 50, Ravindra Jadeja four for 42, Kamlesh Makvana five for 47).
Points: Saurashtra 5, Railways 0.
At Jaipur: Rajasthan 423 bt Odisha134 in 42.5 overs (Govind Podder 52 n.o., Sumit Mathur five for 30) & 233 in 63.5 overs (Subhrajit Sahoo 55, Biplab Samantray 82, Ritu Raj Singh six for 75). Points: Rajasthan 6, Odisha 0.
Elite Group ‘B': At Vadodara: Baroda 284 & 103 for five in 34 overs (Rakesh Solanki 55 batting) vs Bengal 390 in 138.5 overs (Sourav Ganguly retd. hurt 60, Anustup Majumdar 111, Laxmi Shukla 99, Gagandeep Singh six for 94).
At Surat: Haryana 207 & 321 for five decl. in 98 overs (Nitin Saini 91, Rahul Dewan 42, Sunny Singh 40, Priyank Tehlan 85) vs Gujarat 228 & 34 for one in 12 overs.
At Pune: Maharashtra 415 & 36 for no loss in 13 overs vs Himachal Pradesh 236 in 91.3 overs (Paras Dogra 81, Amit Kumar 40, Rishi Dhawan 52 n.o., Dominic Joseph four for 42).