Ranji Trophy: Indrajith puts TN in command

Kerala will need to do something special to stave off an outright defeat against Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy.

Baba Indrajith led from the front with the bat for Tamil Nadu against Kerala.   -  R. Ragu

Tamil Nadu couldn't have asked for a better day.

Skipper B. Indrajith once again led from the front with a brilliant 92 to put his side in a commanding position on the third day, setting Kerala a stiff target of 369 in their Ranji Trophy clash on Saturday.

DAY 2 REPORT

At stumps, Kerala was 27 for one and will need to produce something special on the final day to keep TN from getting an outright win on a wicket where there is enough for both pacers and spinners.

Earlier, Rahil Shah trapped Sijomon Joseph leg-before in the second over of the day to bowl Kerala out for 152, giving TN a lead of 116 runs.

Positive approach

With runs on the board, TN openers came out positively with Abhinav Mukund dealing in boundaries as he stitched together a 55-run partnership with Kaushik Gandhi in no time.

The left-handed opener started with a stylish flick to get his innings going off Sandeep Warrier before launching into Basil Thampi.

Peppered with some short-pitch stuff, Abhinav pulled Thampi over square-leg and mid-wicket off consecutive deliveries before guiding one over the ’keeper’s head in the same over to quickly move to 25.

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Off-spinner Jalaj Saxena then got one to spin sharply to have Abhinav caught behind and TN lost Aparajith cheaply before Indrajith took control.

The TN skipper once again looked in no trouble as he kept the scoreboard moving along with Kaushik and took the team to lunch at 107 for two.

Kaushik played cautiously and got to his half-century before Kerala struck twice with left-arm spinner Joseph dismissing the former and Dinesh Karthik in the same over to reduce TN to 142 for four.

Indrajith played some beautiful flicks, especially against the spinners, quickly going on the backfoot and using his wrist to pierce the gaps and brought up his fifty.

Change in tactics

Post his half-century, however, the skipper was happy to run hard as Kerala spread the field out and had just one boundary before he perished trying to go for quick runs, once again falling short of a deserving ton.

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Perfect day

TN had 11 overs at Kerala and once again left-arm pacer T. Natarajan looked threatening and had Jalaj Saxena caught at first slip coming around the wicket towards the end of the day to tie the ribbon on TN’s perfect day.