Kaarthick piles on Karnataka's misery

Aparajith hits maiden ton as Tamil Nadu declare at 538/4; tough task for visitors

Contrasting centuries from Baba Aparajith and Dinesh Kaarthick helped Tamil Nadu tighten the noose around Karnataka in their Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy match here at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Saturday.

Dinesh Kaarthick sends one to the fence during his sparkling 154 not out against Karnataka in Chennai on Saturday.

Sitting pretty at 260 for two at the end of the opening day’s play, the hosts piled on Karnataka’s misery as they added 278 more runs to declare their innings closed at massive 538 for four at the end of an entertaining second day’s play.

Karnataka, in response, had scored 26 with both their openers Robin Uthappa (18) and KB Pawan (5) unconquered at the crease.

Aparajith (112 runs, 255 balls, 346 minutes, 11x4, 1x6) struck his maiden Ranji Trophy century, while Kaarthick (154 not out, 182b, 251m, 14x4, 4x6) stole the limelight with his pyrotechnics as Tamil Nadu chalked up their highest ever score against Karnataka.
Witnessed by a relatively good crowd, Karnataka skipper R Vinay Kumar expectedly had the spinners bowl bulk of the overs.

The spinners, led by Sunil N Raju, bowled tirelessly and were rewarded with a couple of crucial wickets.

The wickets of Aparajith and S Badrinath (72, 188b, 266m, 5x4, 1x6), who fell edging a delivery from Raju to a diving Pawan at forward short-leg to end a 177-run overnight partnership, and their clinical fielding inside and outside the circle were the only things the visitors had going for them.

Everything else -- much like most of the opening day -- clearly panned out in favour of Tamil Nadu’s batting.

Earlier, Aparajith, overnight 85, was patchy to begin his day but managed to stutter his way through to a century from 225 balls with 11 fours and a six before a lapse in concentration cost him his wicket. The 18-year-old was stumped coming down the track to KP Appanna by ’keeper CM Gautam.

Tamil Nadu took their time to come to grips after the loss of their fourth wicket but once Kaarthick got going, there was little Karnataka could do.

Coming in with the score on 287 for three, there was enough room for the wicket-keeper batsman to go out there and look to score freely.

Putting away bad balls with customary disdain, he rushed to his half-century in 75 balls with five fours and a six.

The only real chance Karnataka had to get rid of Kaarthick, they made a mess of. On 80, Kaarthick danced down the track and struck a meaty six towards wide long-on off Raju.

Discontent, Kaarthick stepped out for the next ball too, looking to dispatch Raju once again. The right-arm spinner held back a little and the ball pitched just short of Kaarthick before spinning away sharply. Caught unawares, Gautam dropped the ball and missed out on stumping Kaarthick who was well and truly out of his crease.

After that, the India international, who was ably aided by a patient Ramaswamy Prasanna (74 not out, 165b, 190m, 4x4, 1x6) at the other end, was a lot more cautious in his approach. He took sixteen balls to move from 97 to 98 but got to his century in the very next ball -- a cover-drive off Raju for four.

With the milestone out of the way, Kaarthick opened up and dispatched Raju for 14 runs (4, 0, 4, 4, 0, 2) that same over. Prasanna, meanwhile, chalked up his fifty from 139 balls, making it a rare occasion where the top six batsmen have all scored fifty or more runs.
Karthik reached his 150 with a huge six over mid-wicket off a full toss from Abhimanyu Mithun and two runs later the duo completed its 200-run partnership.

Score board

TAMIL NADU (I Innings, O/n: 260/2 in 90 overs): Abhinav Mukund c Gautam b Raju 51 (121 balls, 165 minutes, 5x4), Arun Karthik lbw Satish 50 (99b, 145m, 5x4), Baba Aparajith st Gautam b Appanna 112 (255b, 346m, 11x4, 1x6), S Badrinath c Pawan b Raju 72 (188b, 266m, 5x4, 1x6), Dinesh Kaarthick (not out) 154  (182b, 251m 14x4, 4x6), Ramaswamy Prasanna (not out) 74 (165b, 190m, 4x4, 1x6). Extras (B-18, LB-4, NB-2, W-1) 25. Total (for 4 wkts declared, 168 overs) 538.

Fall of wickets: 106-1 (Karthik), 110-2 (Mukund), 287-3 (Badrinath), 338-4 (Aparajith).
Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 15-6-38-0 (nb-1), Abhimanyu Mithun 19-4-47-0 (nb-1), KP Appanna 40-1-136-1, Stuart Binny 13-2-49-0 (w-1), Sunil Raju 45-6-148-2, Amit Verma 29-3-79-0, Ganesh Satish 3-1-4-1, KB Pawan 4-0-15-0.

KARNATAKA (I Innings): KB Pawan (batting) 5 (29b), Robin Uthappa (batting) 18 (34b, 2x4). Extras (NB-3) 3. Total (for no loss, 10 overs) 26.

Bowling: Lakshmipathi Balaji 2-1-2-0, Jagannathan Kaushik 1-0-4-0, M Mohammed 1-1-0-0, Baba Aparajith 2-0-8-0, Murugan Ashwin 3-0-12-0 (nb-3), Malolan Rangarajan 1-0-1-0.

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