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High five for Ajith as TN display fight

CHENNAI: When a team has a sizable lead and is aware that from that particular stage chances of it losing the game is remote, complacency creeps in. Karnataka learnt it the hard way as they were bundled out for a paltry 139 in 56.4 overs in their second essay by Tamil Nadu on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Elite ‘C’ group, sixth round match being played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Sunday.

Set a target of 355 runs for a win, Tamil Nadu were 36/1 in 15 overs in their second essay when stumps were drawn.

Tamil Nadu, after their poor show with the ball in Karnataka’s first innings, did a creditable job on Sunday. Captain R Sai Kishore led by example and marshalled his resources well, ensuring Karnataka batters did not make merry the second time around. Sai Kishore, who during Karnataka’s first innings was pretty expensive, bowled tighter lines, was a lot quicker through the air. His eighteen overs cost just 27 runs and he also bagged two wickets. Since Sai Kishore sealed the run flow at one end, Ajith Ram got to blossom at the other. The lanky Ajith bagged a fifer (5/61) and curtailed Karnataka’s march. Incidentally, this is Ajith’s third fifer in Ranji Trophy, all of them coming at MAC stadium. He had a match haul of 9/136.

Former Tamil Nadu captain and former chairman of the selection committee S Vasudevan, who watched the day’s play at Chepauk, doffed his hat to Ajith Ram for the good show. “Ajith really bowled well. He bowled a good line and length and was impressive. Importantly he bowled to the field. He has improved a lot from what I saw last year and one of the hall marks is his consistency,” complimented Vasudevan.

Chasing a mammoth target for a win, Tamil Nadu started in earnest with Vimal Khumar and N Jagadeesan opening once again. After playing a couple of overs, just when Jagadeesan was trying to come to terms of the wicket, a momentary lapse led to his dismissal wherein he was trapped right in front by V Vyshak. Pradosh Ranjan Paul joined Vimal and the duo took brisk singles to put pressure on the opposition fielders.

Vimal often stepped out to play the Karnataka spinners to negate the threat. Pradosh looked solid and now a lot will depend upon how this pair plays on Monday morning when the Karnataka bowlers are fresh and the wicket too having some juice.

SELECT scores

Group B: In Thumba: Kerala 363 & 265/6 decl in 64.2 ovrs (Kunnummal 51, Baby 51, Gopal 50 n.o; Ahmed 3/80) vs Bengal 180 in 51.1 ovrs (Easwaran 72; Saxena 9/68) & 77/2 in 20.4 ovrs (Easwaran 33 batting). In Vizianagaram: Andhra 261 & 271/5 in 92 ovrs (Bhui 100 batting, Vihari 48, Rasheed 42 batting; Saurabh 3/73) vs Uttar Pradesh 198 Group C: At Chennai: Karnataka 366 & 139 in 56.4 ovrs (Ajith Ram 5/61) vs Tamil Nadu 151 & 36/1 in 15 ovrs (Vimal 16 batting; Vyshak 1/12). Group D: At Dharamsala: Delhi 264 & 381/6 decl in 61.3 ovrs (Badoni 111; Dhawan 2/60) vs Himachal Pradesh 319 inin 88.2 ovrs (Dhawan 95; Siddhant 5/103, Chauhan 3/72) & 31/1 in 8 ovrs. At Cuttack: Uttarakhand 342 & 203/8 decl (Jiwanjot 74; Mohanty 3/17, Samantray 3/31) vs Odisha 169 & 17/2 in 9 ovrs (Dhapola 2/8). At Puducherry: J&K 106 & 152 (Udeshi 3/48) beat Puducherry 172 & 67 in 35.3 ovrs (Vanshaj 5/16, Mushtaq 5/28).

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