TN batsmen call the shots

Karnataka bowlers made to toil on sluggish surface

Tamil Nadu put on a clinical display with the bat to have Karnataka on the mat on day one of their Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy match here at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Friday.

Opting to bat, the hosts ran into a few self-inflicted hurdles early on and phases of tight bowling from the Karnataka attack, but in the end they managed to score 260 for two in 90 overs to take the day’s honours.

The reasons behind Tamil Nadu’s promising score at the end of the day were Baba Aparajith and Subramaniam Badrinath.

The duo, which stitched together an unbeaten 150-run partnership, was in complete control of proceedings.

While Badrinath (61 batting, 148b, 208m, 4x4, 1x6) once again show-cased his ability to stand at the crease for hours, Aparajith proved why he is so highly rated as the right-hander struck an impressive maiden Ranji half-century.

Staying solid when required and pushing for runs when possible, the member of the under-19 World Cup-winning team scored an unbeaten 85 from 174 balls with ten fours and a six.

Earlier, on a re-laid pitch that did not offer any bounce, TN’s batsmen made things harder for themselves by going into a shell from time to time but when they did begin to use their feet, things began to shape up.

Opening with Abhinav Mukund (51 runs, 121 balls, 5x4) in the absence of Murali Vijay, Arun Karthik (50, 99b, 5x4) was looking to get his team off to a flyer, and as a result of his risk-taking ways, he seemed more susceptible to Karnataka attack.

Skipper R Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun kicked off the proceedings but it was all too obvious early on that there was not going to be too much for the seamers. As early as in the fifth over, Vinay took himself off the attack and brought in left-arm spinner KP Appanna.

Mukund was all too comfortable in playing within the line and dinking it around for ones and twos when the ball wasn’t there to be hit but Karthik went after the spinners and also took a special liking to the freshly-introduced Stuart Binny.

The two added hundred runs even as Vinay rotated his bowlers around without much luck. That was until he brought on Ganesh Satish. The part-time off-spinner was summoned to bowl two overs before lunch and he struck in his very first ball.

Soon after Aparajith’s arrival to the crease, Mukund, who until then looked solid enough to push for a century, fell to a good delivery from Sunil Raju minutes into the post-lunch session. Pitching just short of good length, Raju got the ball to turn sharply and bounce while the left hander’s blade found the edge on its way to Karnataka ’keeper CM Gautam.

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