Ranji Trophy: Top order worry continues for TN

The Tamil Nadu innings mirrored the script of the Indian innings in Adelaide as the team was quickly reduced to 31 for four with pacers Sandeep Warrier and Basil Thampi cleaning up the top order with two wickets each.

Sandeep Warrier cleans up B. Indrajith on day one of the Ranji Trophy fixture between Kerala and Tamil Nadu at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.   -  B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Yet again Tamil Nadu made a mess at the top of the innings after winning the toss before skipper B. Indrajith (87) and debutant M. Shahrukh Khan (82 not out) saved the day with fighting half-centuries to take the host to a respectable total of 249 for six against Kerala on day one.

The TN innings mirrored the script of the Indian innings in Adelaide as the team was quickly reduced to 31 for four with pacers Sandeep Warrier and Basil Thampi cleaning up the top order with two wickets each.

Indrajith and Jagadeesan then steadied things for a bit before the latter was caught at short-leg at the stroke of lunch to leave TN reeling at 81-5.

Indrajith, who has had three quiet matches after a ton in the first match, and Khan added 103 runs for the sixth wicket.

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Earlier, Warrier struck with the second ball of the day, trapping opener Abhinav Mukund leg-before for a first ball duck before uprooting B. Aparajith’s middle stump.

At the other end, Thampi accounted for opener Kaushik Gandhi and Dinesh Karthik with identical deliveries outside the off-stump inducing the false drive. Arun Karthick took two simple catches at first slip.

Indrajith was strong off his pads with flicks, a boundary through to mid-wicket to start his innings and a similar one to take him to 49 off the pacers, while using his nimble footwork to counter the two left-arm spinners and the off-spinner.

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As a debutant, Khan impressed by holding his nerves. The 23-year-old played authoritatively getting on to the front foot with his punchy style of stroke-making. He started with a pull to mid-wicket before giving the charge to spinners to pick a six and few boundaries to move close to his 30s; before getting to his fifty in style with another pull to the mid-wicket boundary.

Tamil Nadu batsman M. Shahrukh Khan in action at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Thursday.   -  B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

The duo ensured TN did not lose a wicket in the second session scoring 96 runs in 28.2 overs. After tea, with some reverse swing, Warrier provided a crucial breakthrough with an incoming delivery to Indrajith who inside-edged on to his pad and on to the bail, 13 short of what would have been another well-deserved 100.

However, Khan and M. Mohammed played sensibly in the last session with a 55-run unbeaten partnership to ensure TN did not lose any further momentum.