Aswin Crist’s lethal leg-cutter to Ganesh Satish turned out to be the biggest blow that Tamil Nadu dealt Vidarbha in the first session of the third day’s play in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the SMS Stadium here on Wednesday.
Resuming at nine for no loss, Vidarbha batted through the day scoring 206 for six but went to stumps with nothing to celebrate. When set batsmen gift their wickets away and some fail to apply themselves, a team can hardly entertain hopes of overhauling 403.
Vidarbha will find itself reflecting on its inability to back itself on a pitch that has bounce enough to surprise the batsmen only sporadically.
The athletic Crist produced a lively spell to rattle Vidarbha early in the day. His first strike saw Faiz Fazal edging to first slip, but it was the ball that followed that proved to be the delivery of the match so far.
Breaching a hopeful forward defensive stroke, Crist uprooted the off-stump to dispatch Satish, a batsman of proven temperament who could have boosted Vidarbha’s chances.
Opening batsman Sachin Katariya and S. Badrinath bore the burden of the innings after that.
Faced with having to blunt the attack and score too, they complemented each other, with the former preferring a waiting game — before he ran out of patience — and the skipper reading the bowlers cannily and playing his strokes.
Despite the pitch easing out, the distinctly quick Crist managed to get the ball to bounce even after 40 overs.
It was left-arm seamer Prasanth Parameswaran who benefited from Badrinath’s indiscretion.
Having played an ‘upper cut’ in the previous over, Badrinath attempted another, but this time the ball stopped on him, and wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik gleefully accepted the edged offering.
Badrinath’s dismissal cast gloom over the Vidarbha dressing room, and there was more grief in the 57th over when Crist’s bounce claimed Shalabh Shrivastava, the batsman’s attempt at evasion presenting the hard-working bowler a simple catch on the follow-through.
After the 72-run partnership between Badrinath and Katariya, Ravi Jangid and Urvesh Patel added 60 runs their stand was broken in the closing stages.
Tamil Nadu should take credit for its decent outing thanks mainly to Crist, a bowler to watch in the days to come.
Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: 403.
Vidarbha — 1st innings: Faiz Fazal c Prasanna b Crist 15, Sachin Katariya c Balaji b Rangarajan 42, Ganesh Satish b Crist 0, S. Badrinath c Karthik b Parameswaran 40, Shalabh Shrivastava c & b Crist 39, Ravi Jangid (batting) 26, Urvesh Patel b Balaji 31, Extras (b-1, lb-4, nb-3, pen-5) 13; Total (for six wkts in 90.4 overs) 206.
Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-21, 3-93, 4-132, 5-146, 6-206.
Tamil Nadu bowling: P. Parameswaran 20-6-45-1, L. Balaji 18.4-9-35-1, Aswin Crist 16-7-47-3, Vijay Shankar 6-0-24-0, Malolan Rangarajan 23-11-38-1, B. Aparajith 7-4-7-0.