Assam shows resolve after being bowled out for 266 in first essay

Left-arm spinners S Ajith Ram (4/68) and Sai Kishore (3/67) did the basics ‘right’ on a Chepauk track that has been assisting the slow bowlers while pacers H Trilok Nag (1/51) and Sandeep Warrier (1/59) bagged a wicket each.
Ajith Ram was the pick of the
Tamil Nadu bowlers in the first
innings with four wickets
Ajith Ram was the pick of the Tamil Nadu bowlers in the first innings with four wickets

CHENNAI: Assam showed resolve at the start of the second innings after folding up for 266 in its first essay on the penultimate day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match against Tamil Nadu at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Thursday.

Assam, which began the day at 120 for four, added 146 runs to its overnight score before being bowled out in the second session. Ahead by 274 runs at the end of the opening exchanges, Tamil Nadu enforced the follow-on but could not boost its victory hopes as it failed to pick up a wicket in the final session.

The touring team reached 66 without loss in its second innings at close of play, with openers Rahul Hazarika (36 batting off 108 balls, 4 fours) and Subham Mandal (23 batting off 96 balls, 1 four) beautifully negating the new ball and the spin threat that followed.

Home skipper R Sai Kishore used as many as seven bowling options, including five spinners, in 34 overs, but the host could not find the breakthrough it badly needed. On the fourth and final day, Tamil Nadu will have to be as good as it was with the ball in the first innings, where it bundled Assam out in 100.2 overs.

Left-arm spinners S Ajith Ram (4/68) and Sai Kishore (3/67) did the basics ‘right’ on a Chepauk track that has been assisting the slow bowlers while pacers H Trilok Nag (1/51) and Sandeep Warrier (1/59) bagged a wicket each.

No.7 Swarupam Purkayastha produced a fighting 74 (161 balls, 10 fours, 1 six) and was the last Assam batter to be dismissed in the innings, but could not prevent the home team from enforcing the follow-on. Besides Swarupam and Riyan Parag, who had been dismissed for 48 on the second day, Abhishek Thakuri (37) and Gokul Sharma (31) were the only visiting batters to cross the 30-run mark.

BRIEF SCORES: Tamil Nadu 540 vs Assam 266 in 100.2 overs (Swarupam 74, R Parag 48, S Ajith Ram 4/68, R Sai Kishore 3/67) & (follow-on) 66/0 in 34 overs

First hour of play will be crucial, says Ajith Ram

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu left-arm spinner S Ajith Ram said that the opening hour of play on the fourth and final day would be crucial as Assam would have the challenge of avoiding defeat in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match here. Tamil Nadu, which enforced follow-on after securing a 274-run first innings lead, is chasing its maiden victory in the premier red-ball competition this season. “Definitely, the first hour will be crucial. If we take two or three wickets in the first hour, Assam will be under pressure because it has to bat out. We can then have better field set-ups,” Ajith Ram told reporters on Thursday. Talking about his performance in the first innings, where he bagged four wickets, Ajith Ram said: “The wicket (pitch) was up and down. Both variable bounce and turn helped me get wickets. I just felt that I had to bowl in the right areas.”

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