Kaushik Gandhi's unbeaten 150 (439b, 20x4), and Baba Indrajith's 66 (162b, 10x4) helped Tamil Nadu to 397 for four, as the side secured a 90-run first innings lead against Gujarat on day three of the ninth round of the Group 'A' Ranji trophy match at the KSCA stadium here.
Early in play, Rush Kalaria suffered a niggle in his right leg and retired after bowling a ball in his fifth over of the day. Chintan Gaja completed the over, and continued to bowl in tandem with Jasprit Bumrah and Axar Patel. Gaja and Bumrah were accorded two slips, and Axar, one.
Kaushik Gandhi's only lapse of the day, in his otherwise stable stint, came when Bumrah forced an edge off his bat. The ball didn't carry to the second slip who dived ahead, to his left. A ball later, he drove straight for a four. He raised his fifty with seven fours off 149 balls.
By lunch, Kaushik and Baba Indrajith had chugged along for 230 balls, and added 82 runs for the third wicket, guiding Tamil Nadu to 236 for two in 102 overs.
Kalaria returned to bowl after lunch, and Indrajith brought up his fifty with nine fours off 129 balls. Kaushik pulled, and put a short ball off Axar in the space between deep square leg and deep midwicket for a boundary. Soon, the partnership breached the 100-run mark.
Indrajith survived a run out scare at the non-striker's end off Hardik Patel. The bowler got his hand to the ball and deflected it on to the stumps at the non-striker's end after Kaushik had hit it straight. The appeal was referred to the third umpire who turned it down.
Gaja, then, caught Indrajith off his own bowling to end the thriving 116-run partnership. The ball popped off a defensive straight push, and the bowler held on to it in quick reflex, one-handed.
Kaushik got to his hundred with a four off a drive to deep cover off Axar Patel. This was after Dinesh Karthik departed, caught behind off Priyank Panchal.
Post tea, Axar had a short leg in place — after he had persisted with only a slip for long — and bowled round, and over the wicket to no effect. The short leg was at times shifted to short fine leg.
Over time, Kaushik, with teeming trust in self, hit back-to-back fours off Hardik Patel. At first, he shifted his front leg slight and fast, to place the ball between mid-off and cover. The fielders had time only to see it through. Then he went down on his knee and swept it square.
Soon after, he reached his 150, and ended the day involved in an unbroken 97-run fifth-wicket stand with Vijay Shankar.