Sports Reporter

CHENNAI: Left-arm seamer R. Suthesh's four-wicket haul put defending champion Jolly Rovers in an enviable position against Grand Slam on the second day of the TNCA first division final at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Friday. At close, Grand Slam was tottering on 173 for eight in reply to Rovers' first innings 346.

Suthesh drew first blood when he trapped opener M. Kaushik Gandhi in front for a duck. Three overs later, E. Aswin edged medium pacer Jesuraj Srigopalan to the wicket-keeper. K. Shree Vasudeva Das, one of principal run accumulators for Grand Slam this season, spanked two boundaries in his 38-ball 21, before getting his stumps rattled by Gary Dumenil.

Skipper J. Madangopal 32 (79b, 4x4) looked intent on staying in the middle, but a lapse saw him sky offie V. Maaruthi Raghav to mid-on where the ball was pouched. Grand Slam reached 83 for four in 34 overs at tea. And on the second delivery after resumption, Suthesh struck, inducing K. Sriram to edge to the wicket-keeper. Suthesh claimed his third victim when he castled S. Dinesh (11).

At the other end, Hemang Badani (16, 63b, 2x4) ran out of patience, driving Maaruthi Raghav to cover as Grand Slam found itself seven down for 108 in 41.2 overs. M. Sridhar Raj (20 batting) and M. Raja (28, 57b, 2x4, 1x6) compiled 51 for the eighth wicket, before Suthesh put a scorcher through the latter's defence.

The left-arm seamer's 13 overs in searing heat yielded him four for 32.

Earlier, Rovers swelled its overnight 292 for five by 47 runs in 17.1 overs. Captain R. Sathish added just two to his 132 before being cleaned up by M. Raja. Ajay Kudua, resuming on 33, reached 50 off 85 balls and carried on to 70 (113b, 9x4, 2x6). He was the last man dismissed, bowled by Raja. Raja finished with five for 84, his first five-wicket haul, with figures of 5.1-0-18-3 on the second day.

Rovers had seven runs added to its total for a slow over-rate penalty imposed on Grand Slam.

The score: Final: Second day: Jolly Rovers 346 in 101.1 overs (R. Sathish 134, Ajay Kudua 70, M. Raja five for 84, Sunil Sam two for 82, V. Arun Kumar two for 97) vs Grand Slam 173 for eight in 62 overs (J. Madangopal 32, M. Raja 28, Suthesh four for 32, Maaruthi Raghav two for 41) .

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