Andhra puts Tamil Nadu on the mat

It was the day of the underdog. Andhra, backing belief with clinical efficiency, dismissed Tamil Nadu for 176 on day one of their Ranji Trophy duel.

Bhargav Bhatt of Andhra celebrates after dismissing L. Vignesh of Tamil Nadu during their Ranji Trophy match at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday.   -  M. Vedhan

Batting is a lot about application. The fancied Tamil Nadu batting — B. Aparajith apart — lacked this essential quality at Chepauk on Friday.

It was the day of the underdog. Andhra, backing belief with clinical efficiency, dismissed Tamil Nadu for 176 on day one of their Ranji Trophy duel.

There was bounce all through and some turn, but then, this was by no stretch of imagination, a venemous wicket.

Tamil Nadu’s plight could have been worse but for the last wicket stand of 36 — the highest association of the innings — between Rahil Shah and K. Vignesh.

In fact, the final two wickets gathered 65 valuable runs. The outfield was slow, there was some reverse swing because of the dry conditions but the frontline Tamil Nadu batsmen let themselves down with some casual strokeplay.  

Tamil Nadu could not put together sizable partnerships — the heart of any innings. It hurt the host.

"We should have scored more but I feel the last two wickets adding 65 runs could prove vital. It is not a pitch where you can run through a side. You have to work your way through an innings. With R. Ashwin leading our spin attack, we too have a good chance" 

— B. Aparajith, after his half-century knock

 

Earlier, Aparajith (51, 137b, 4x4) curbed his natural attacking instincts. Even as wickets fell, he was composed and balanced, played the ball late after travelling back.

He departed top-edging a sweep to mid-on off left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt — the ninth wicket. Bhatt kept things tight, got the odd ball to turn and scalped four.

This was a day when the Andhra attack hummed and the fielding was sharp. Paceman Bandaru Ayyappa demanded attention with his compelling off-stump line and two-way movement.

He also used the crease capably, getting close to the stumps for the delivery that moved away or going a tad wider for the incoming ball.

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Ayyappa took out two big guns — M. Vijay with a delivery that left the batsman and R. Ashwin, right after lunch, by bringing one in.

The short seamer doesn’t have a long run-up, but gathers momentum with every stride and has a nice side-on release.  

His pace partner, the lively left-armer Y. Prithviraj, surprised and prised out Abhinav Mukund with a well-directed lifter and sent back Washington Sundar with a short ball that was guided into the slip cordon.

Prithviraj brings with him the left-armer’s angle, possesses a quick-arm action, and gets the ball to hurry off the track.

Kaushik Gandhi and Indrajith fell after getting starts. Indrajith, in fact, threw it away after charging Bhatt. He was caught spectacularly by Ashwin Hebbar at long-off.

Andhra was full of beans.

Later, Aparajith said he had to fight his way through to a half century. He said after his innings of 51, “There was some bounce in the wicket which is not unexpected at Chepauk. I had to restrain my strokeplay and play a lot of balls. The outfield was slow as well and it was challenging.”

Aparajith added, “We should have scored more but I feel the last two wickets adding 65 runs could prove vital. It is not a pitch where you can run through a side. You have to work your way through an innings. With R. Ashwin leading our spin attack, we too have a good chance.”

Bhargav, who scalped four, said, “This is not the kind of turner that we normally used to get in Chennai. There was some bounce and turn though and I tried to hit the right areas. We created pressure from both ends with pace and spin. It worked for us.”

SCOREBOARD

Tamil Nadu (Ist inngs): Abhinav Mukund c & b Prithiviraj 11; M. Vijay c D.B. Prashanth Kumar b Ayyappa 4; M. Kaushik Gandhi c K.S. Bharat b Shoaib Mohammad 22; B. Indrajith c Hebbar b Bhatt 19; B. Aparajith c Venugopala Rao b Bhatt 51, R. Ashwin b Ayyappa 9; M.S. Washington Sundar c Venugopala Rao b Prithviraj 14; N. Jagadeesan c Vihari b Bhatt 0; L. Vignesh lbw Bhatt 0; Rahil Shah c Bharath b Prithviraj 15; K. Vignesh (not out) 25.

Extras (nb-2, b-1, lb-3) 6, Total (all out in 85 overs) 176

Fall of wkts: 1-15, 2-15, 3-41, 4-73, 5-88, 6-111, 7-112, 8-114, 9-140.

Andhra bowling: B. Ayyappa 21-10-31-2, Y. Prithviraj 15-2-39-3, A. Hebbar 4-1-11-0, B. Bhatt 30-7-52-4, S. Mohammad 13-1-34-1, B. Sumanth 2-1-5-0.

Andhra (Ist inngs): D.B. Prashath Kumar (not out) 1; K.S. Bharath (not out) 7.

Total (without loss in three overs) 8.

Tamil Nadu bowling: R. Ashwin 2-0-8-0, K. Vignesh 1-1-0-0.