Nashik: M. Vijay (202 batting, 276b, 23x4, 5x6) and Abhinav Mukund (164 batting, 268b, 19x4, 2x6) turned out to be immovable as they batted all day on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy super league match against Maharashtra at the old golf course ground here on Monday.
They accumulated runs at will and flattened all records for Tamil Nadu in the history of the national championship. They also exposed the limitations of an opponent relying heavily on a group of untested home grown bowlers and an import from Bangladesh with 32 Test wickets under his belt.
In fact left-arm spinner Enamul Haque Jr. after being shown some respect in his initial spells was collared as Vijay and Abhinav stepped out of the crease and effortlessly lifted the ball for mighty sixes.
Nothing could disturb their powers of concentration for six hours and 16 minutes or inhibit their stroke play. The pair added 377 runs, sufficient enough to bring nightmares to the young captain Nikhil Paradkar and his team. There was not a single appeal which deserved any serious attention.
The opening stand between the right-left combination erased a couple of records held by two different pairs for Tamil Nadu. First to go down was the 329-run opening stand between K. Srinath and Sadagopan Ramesh made against Kerala at Tirunelveli.
Once this 13-year-old record was beaten, Vijay and Mukund breezed past Tamil Nadu’s best for all wickets — 356 for the sixth between W.V. Raman and Arjan Kripal Singh against Goa at Panaji two decades ago. Raman, now the coach of the Tamil Nadu team, greeted the pair for its performance.
More than competent
Vijay and Mukund proved more than competent as they dealt with the new ball in the first hour, with the left-handed Mukund demonstrating positive intent punching the ball hard for a few boundaries square of the wicket.
Circumspect for a while, Vijay came into his own 40 minutes after the first ball was bowled. He cover drove, glanced and followed it up with an extra cover drive off right-arm medium-pacer Aditya Dole.
Once before lunch Vijay edged Haque but the ball travelled swiftly between the wicketkeeper and first slip and it was not until some 90 minutes before close that there was an instance of another genuine edge. This time Mukund edged Dole to third man for a boundary.
These were the only blemishes in an otherwise near flawless batting performance executed by the Tamil Nadu openers.
Vijay and Mukund said they were happy to own the record and played session by session. “We know each other’s games well and have an excellent rapport. The wicket was flat and we played our natural game. The fact that we scored runs in all the three sessions showed that we were able to maintain the tempo,” said Mukund.
The scores: Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: M. Vijay (batting) 202, Abhinav Mukund (batting) 164; Extras (lb-6, nb-4, w-1): 11; Total (for no loss in 90 overs): 377.
Maharashtra bowling: Fallah 20-1-78-0, Dole 19-2-55-0, Kadiwale 6-1-28-0, Haque 25-1-114-4, Shilamkar 7-0-45-0, Paradkar 13-0-51-0.