'Toss was a big factor'

Dinesh Kaarthick played an outstanding hand at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Sunday, but his 11th Ranji Trophy hundred was in vain as Tamil Nadu conceded a massive 326-run advantage to Rajasthan on the first innings on day four of the final.

Without giving any excuses, the 26-year-old said Rajasthan’s success with the coin, which they translated into a first-innings total of 621, had been the decisive factor in the final.

“This was a game which depended a lot on the toss,” Kaarthick said in the evening. “I don't think we have a bowling unit that is not good enough to take one single wicket on a given day. We have bowled out good teams in under 70-80 overs, which just goes to prove that we are a very good bowling unit. But this just wasn't our game. Having said that, I think a lot of credit goes to the Rajasthan batsmen.”

Kaarthick said his team had gone a long way towards erasing the tag of ‘domestic chokers’ despite this loss in the final. “In the last three years, we've been losing in quarters and semis and people said probably we were not good enough for big matches. This year, we stood out and won our quarters and semis convincingly against good teams.

“As a batting unit, we know what we are capable of. Deep down, all of our top batsmen are hurt,” Kaarthick said of his team’s abject surrender which netted them just 295 in the first innings. “But it's unfair that when the opponent bats, the track is flat but when we get to bat, the ball keeps low.”

Kaarthick had announced his arrival with a spectacular century in another losing cause in the 2003-04 final against Mumbai, also at Chepauk, and his 150 in this match too is destined to go in vain. “This hundred was a little more tough than the earlier one because that was a first-day wicket which was nice to bat on,” he reminisced.

“It has been my dream to win the Ranji Trophy for Tamil Nadu but unfortunately, we have fallen short twice (when I have played).”

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