Pradosh Ranjan Paul (153, 212b, 16x4) and Vijay Shankar (112, 187b, 7x4, 1x6) are going through one of the best phases of their careers as they slammed their respective third centuries of the season on Wednesday.
Their tons powered Tamil Nadu to a mammoth 540 in the first innings against Assam on day two of the Ranji Trophy clash at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The home team then pressed home the advantage by reducing Assam to 120 for four at stumps.
Pradosh resumed the day on 99 and hit the first ball he faced in the morning from left-arm pacer Sunil Lachit for three runs to get to his century.
From then on, the left-hander played eye-catching shots by going over the top of slips against the pacers and employing his flicks to good effect.
Shankar started with a cover drive at the other end before pulling pacer Akash Sengupta over the midwicket fence as he calmly completed a hat-trick of centuries.
Pradosh and Vijay added 263 runs for the fifth wicket, their fourth 100-plus partnership this season.
In reply, Assam’s innings did not start well as pacer H. Trilok Nag had Rahul Hazarika caught at gully in the fourth over, a ball after he had him caught at second slip off a no-ball.
Young left-arm spinner S. Ajith Ram was impressive, unafraid to toss the ball up and had Rishav Das caught driving at short- cover before bowling Subham Mandal through the gate.
At the other end, Parag was aggressive as he went after Ajith and hit him for three boundaries in one over. He looked fluent during his knock of 48 but was run out responding to a quick single from skipper Gokul Sharma.
On a pitch starting to suit the spinners, Tamil Nadu - still ahead by 420 runs- will fancy its chances of bowling out Assam twice over the next two days as it searches for its first win of the season.
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