Wicketkeeper Varun Kumar dropped Badrinath before he had opened his accountHemanth put on 111 in 26.2 overs for the fourth wicket with his captain
CHENNAI: SPIC-TNCA skipper S. Badrinath's splendid century lit up day one of the Mindteck-Buchi Babu final here at ICL-Gurunanak on Wednesday.
On his 26th birthday, Badrinath compiled a 148-ball 124 (11x4, 5x6), as his side finished with 415 for six from 90 overs. Things may have been different for Combined Districts had wicketkeeper Varun Kumar held on to a top-edged hook off G. Vignesh before Badrinath got off the mark.
The score then read 73 in the 20th over; opener M. Vijay (37) had just departed.
A frenetic second-wicket partnership of 70 in 10.3 overs with S. Vidyut (58, 96b, 8x4, 1x6) followed. Badrinath scratched around - edging a four, and mistiming a drive - till Vignesh dug another one in short. The response was a thrilling hook, which deposited the ball in the trees that separate the field from the car park. The stroke seemed to click things in place for the technically proficient right-hander.
Vidyut played an excellent off-drive himself, but Badrinath imposed his authority with a stroke that had no parallel this day. He waded into paceman Avinash, and hit him inside-out over cover for six. Granted the track was benign; the bat speed Badrinath generated, and his ability in picking the length, however, were special.
After Dinesh Karthik was castled, ending a partnership of 71, left-hander S. Hemanth Kumar lent Badrinath admirable support. Easy on the eye, Hemanth, put on 111 in 26.2 overs for the fourth wicket with his captain.
Hemanth's 57-run alliance with fellow slender southpaw K. Sree Vasudevadas (31), after Badrinath holed out in the deep, was marked by attractive stroke-play. Hemanth missed his century by eight runs when he picked out long-off. The knock came off 139 balls, and contained five fours and two elegantly struck sixes.
None of the Districts bowlers had the air speed to trouble the batsmen on a strip that offered little by way of bounce or deviation. The only period of danger Badrinath faced was in the middle session, when Avinash bowled a spell of controlled swing. The number three batsman's tendency to occasionally force his hands at the ball, and the complacency associated with being well set, could have spelt trouble.
But, in playing late and maintaining his concentration, Badrinath, highlighted the improvements he has made in his game.
The scores: SPIC-TNCA XI 415 for six in 90 overs (S. Vidyut 58, S. Badrinath 124, C. Hemanth Kumar 92) vs. Combined Districts XI.