Ranji Trophy: Mukund's 99 helps TN consolidate position

After taking 26 overs to claim Gujarat's last three batsmen, Tamil Nadu got to 154/2 after the second day, with 99 of it coming from its in-form skipper Abhinav Mukund.

abhinav mukund

Tamil Nadu skipper Abhinav Mukund missed out on his fourth hundred of the season.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Abhinav Mukund fell one run short of a century (99, 184b, 15x4), and Kaushik Gandhi hit an unbeaten 43 (172b, 7x4) as Tamil Nadu got to 154 for two on day two of the group A contest at the KSCA stadium here. Gujarat was bowled out for 307.

Tamil Nadu took 26 overs in the morning to claim Gujarat's last three wickets. After Aswin Crist had Axar Patel drive straight to Aparajith at cover, T. Natarajan bowled Hardik Patel for nought.

Chintan Gaja and Jasprit Bumrah sought to persist and prolong as Tamil Nadu turned impatient. Captain Abhinav Mukund bowled himself to end the 81-ball tenth wicket stand - Gaja cut him straight to Suryapprakash at point.

Opener Suryapprakash, as Tamil Nadu batted, was dropped on zero by wicketkeeper Dhruv Raval off left-arm paceman Rush Kalaria. He edged one to the second slip off Kalaria, in his next over, and the bowler had deservedly got him it seemed. Only, it was deemed a no-ball, and Kalaria, with his teammates, had to abort the revelry he had just induced.

Abhinav, the left-hander, survived a big shout for lbw off Bumrah, when he played across the line, missed, and took the ball on his left pad.

A couple of farcical events ensued. One, Tamil Nadu bowling coach L. Balaji was warded off from in front of the sight-screen, for he wanted to observe, and analyse his batsmen and ended up causing them hassle instead. Two, the ground staff had accidentally, and briefly turned the on-field water sprinklers on, and the umpires had to call lunch earlier than intended.

After lunch, Kalaria, with a switch to bowl from around the wicket, and a no-miss from the 'keeper this time, managed to get rid off Suryapprakash. But the 'keeper did drop the new batsman Kaushik Gandhi later, off Kalaria again.

Kaushik and Abhinav held on, thrived, and gathered 141 runs for the second wicket. The partnership, seemingly set to roll on to day three, was broken when Abhinav was out bowled by Kalaria towards the end of the day.

Of all the fours that Abhinav hit, a finely timed, well-placed one off Gaja, that split mid-off and extra cover, and a sensible late-cut off Rujul were the stand-outs.

For Kaushik, a swat of a pull off Bumrah - after which the bowler dared him with more bouncers - was the most remarkable.