Half-centuries by skipper B Indrajith (87) and debutant M Shahrukh Khan (82 batting) helped Tamil Nadu recover from 31 for 4 to a respectable 249 for 6 in 90 overs on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘B’ match here on Thursday.
Opener Kaushik Gandhi (19) and Dinesh Karthik (4), who is back in the state squad after being part of the national T20 side in the series against Australia, were sent back by Basil Thampi to leave Tamil Nadu in a spot of bother. Dinesh Karthik was caught brilliantly by K B Arun Karthick. Indrajith first put on 50 runs for the fifth wicket with N Jagadeesan (21) to lead the home team’s recovery.
Later, the captain added 103 runs for the sixth wicket with Shahrukh Khan. It was a phase in which the duo mixed caution and some aggressive play. The two countered the pacemen well and displayed some good footwork to take on the spinners. Indrajith looked good to score a century before being bowled by Warrier.
Shahrukh, who remained not out on 82 (7X4, 1X6) and M Mohammed (25 batting) added 65 runs for the seventh wicket to help Tamil Nadu’s cause. Shahrukh, who had been waiting in the wings for quite some time, later said this was the right time to make his first-class debut. “I received a message from our captain (Indrajith) this morning asking me to be prepared. I was backing myself to come good. I wasn’t scared of the situation that our team was in when I walked out to bat. I batted with positive intent. Batting with Indrajith was a wonderful opportunity and I’m glad I was able to make it count,” said the 23-year-old.
About his team’s plan for the second day, Shahrukh revealed that he, along with the lower order, will look to add another 100 runs. “I think 350 would be a good score on this wicket. We came back well after losing those four early wickets. This wicket is definitely better than the one against Bengal. Towards the end, the wicket was gripping a lot and it will get much slower from hereon,” added Shahrukh.
Kerala pacer, Sandeep Warrier, conceded that they should have restricted TN to a much lower score after making early inroads. “As things stand, TN slightly has the upper hand. Indrajith and Shahrukh played extremely well. It’s not easy to score on this pitch,” explained Sandeep.
Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 249/6 (B Indrajith 87, Shahrukh Khan 82*, Sandeep Warrier 3/42) vs Kerala