CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu and Saurashtra shared the honours on the second day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Wednesday.
While Tamil Nadu dominated the first and third sessions, with bat and ball respectively, Saurashtra owned the second period with a five-wicket burst.
Baba Indrajith (66 off 216 balls, 5 fours), who rode his luck with three let-offs on the day, completed his half-century while Vijay Shankar (53 off 143 balls, 7 fours) and Shahrukh Khan (50 off 70 balls, 3 fours, 3 sixes) also hit fifties to help the home team’s cause.
But, the visiting side roared back into the match in the post-lunch session as it snapped up the last five wickets for just 36 runs to bowl Tamil Nadu out for 324 in the first essay.
After failing to make inroads into the Saurashtra batting line-up in the passage of play prior to tea, the host struck thrice before close of play, point at which Saurashtra stood at 92 for three.
Beginning on his overnight score of 45, Indrajith adopted an extremely cautious approach at the start of the day’s play, before raising his half-century with a boundary over mid-wicket.
After achieving the milestone, the former Tamil Nadu captain was gifted as many as three reprieves – missed run-out opportunity, dropped catch by Jay Gohil at forward short-leg and wicket off a Ravindra Jadeja no-ball.
But, Indrajith did not take full advantage of them, falling prey to Ravindra Jadeja (1/48) to end the 68-run fifth-wicket stand with Vijay Shankar. He was caught at first slip by Prerak Mankad, who had handed him an early life on the opening day.
Tamil Nadu then upped the ante after Shahrukh was dropped at mid-on by Sheldon Jackson in the lead-up to the lunch interval.
Shahrukh accepted the gift with open arms and took special liking for off-spinner Yuvrajsinh Dodiya, smacking him for three maximums – two over mid-wicket and one straight down the ground.
His partner, Vijay Shankar, picked his moments and extended his purple patch, but could not notch up a fourth consecutive century.
The 54-run sixth-wicket alliance between Vijay Shankar and Shahrukh was the last meaningful partnership for Tamil Nadu as the batters who followed the duo went down like ninepins.
In the final session, left-arm spinners Manimaran Siddharth (1/26) and S Ajith Ram (1/20) and new-ball taker Sandeep Warrier (1/23) opened their account to give Tamil Nadu a slight edge heading into the penultimate day.
BRIEF SCORES: Tamil Nadu 324 in 142.4 overs (Baba Indrajith 66, Vijay Shankar 53, Shahrukh Khan 50, B Sai Sudharsan 45, Baba Aparajith 45, Yuvrajsinh Dodiya 4/72, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 3/95) vs Saurashtra 92/3 in 35 overs.