Jagannathan Kaushik rightly bowled a fuller length. The young paceman swung the second new ball away from a telling off-stump line to slice through the Maharashtra line-up in a dramatic first session on the second day of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
A burst of 5-1-19-5 might appear inspirational but the 26-year-old Kaushik's bowling was a lot about common sense. He bowled in the right areas at a lively pace, switched his line admirably to the right and the left handers and moved the ball just enough to keep the 'keeper and the slip cordon busy. The edges were snapped up with glee.
In a sensational collapse, Maharashta lost six wickets for 28 runs in nine overs to be bowled out for 232. The host then assumed control with openers Abhinav Mukund (95, 157b, 12x4, 1x6) and M. Vijay (79, 160b, 11x4) putting on 173 for the opening wicket in 47 overs. Tamil Nadu, 259 for three at stumps, was 27 runs ahead in the first innings.
In a position of some promise at 204 for four overnight, Maharashtra lost ground rapidly. Sangram Atitkar (50, 106b, 4x4, 1x6) nicked Kaushik to ‘keeper Dinesh Karthik off the day's first ball.
Then, Kaushik removed Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Joshi and Akshay Darekar in one over. Staring at the carnage from the other end was Maharashtra skipper Rohit Motwani, who remained unbeaten on 22.
In the afternoon, the left-right pair of Mukund and Vijay laid a solid platform. Mukund drove, cut and pulled with aplomb. Vijay launched into his drives and flicks and the fielders were chasing leather.
The threat from left-arm paceman Samad Fallah — he delivers from a short run-up but generates some pace with a quick-arm action — was negated well by Mukund and Vijay.
Mukund, eventually, opted to sweep left-arm spinner Ajinkya Joshi from his off-stump but missed to be adjudged leg-before. And Vijay miscued a drive off another left-arm spinner Akshay Darekar.
There was some slow turn for Joshi and Darekar but the experienced S. Badrinath (35 batting) and Karthik (30) added 70 before the latter fell lbw to Fallah bowling with the second new ball.
Maharashtra — 1st innings: H. Khadiwale c Vasudeva Das b V. Yomahesh 61; C. Khurana c Prasanna b Aushik Srinivas 44; S. Atitkar c D. Karthik b J. Kaushik 50; N. Paradkar c Badrinath b Aushik Srinivas 6; A. Bawne c D. Karthik b L. Balaji 19; R. Motwani (not out) 22; K. Jadhav c Badrinath b J. Kaushik 3; A. Joshi c Prasanna b J. Kaushik 0; A. Darekar c Vijay b J. Kaushik 0; D. Muthuswami (run out) 0; S. Fallah b J. Kaushik 2; Extras (b-1, lb-4, w-3, nb-17): 25. Total (in 93 overs): 232.
Fall of wickets: 1-116, 2-116, 3-137, 4-196, 5-204, 6-219, 7-219, 8-219, 9-220.
Tamil Nadu bowling: L. Balaji 20-6-35-1, J. Kaushik 19-5-56-5, V. Yomahesh 15-7-22-1, R. Aushik Srinivas 28-5-64-2; S. Gupta 11-0-50-0.
Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: A. Mukund lbw A. Joshi 95; M. Vijay c N. Paradkar b A. Darekar 79; S. Badrinath (batting) 35; D. Karthik lbw b S. Fallah 30, K. Shree Vasudeva Das (batting) 1; Extras (b-2, w-2, nb-15) 19. Total (for three wkts. in 83 overs): 259.
Fall of wickets : 1-173, 2-186, 3-256.
Maharashtra bowling: S. Fallah 17-3-44-1, D. Muthuswami 12-2-40-0, H. Khadiwale 2-0-8-0, A. Darekar 21-5-66-1, C. Khurana 9-1-31-0, A. Joshi 22-3-68-1.