Ranji Trophy: Subham Sharma saves the day for Madhya Pradesh

After paceman Aswin Crist and Srinivas did the early damage, Sharma steadied the sinking boat with two solid partnership that changed the course of the match.

Left-arm spinner Aushik Srinivas of Tamil Nadu successfully appealsfor a leg before against MP skipper Devendra Bundela on the final dayof the Group A Ranji Trophy clash at the DRIEMS College grounds inCuttack on Sunday.   -  Ryan Rozario

Left-arm spinner Aushik Srinivas of Tamil Nadu bowled an inspiring spell but Shubham Sharma stood strong right through, to save the day for Madhya Pradesh on the final day of the Group A Ranji Trophy tie, which fizzled out into a draw, at the DRIEMS College grounds here on Sunday.

After paceman Aswin Crist and Srinivas did the early damage, Sharma steadied the sinking boat with two solid partnership that changed the course of the match.

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Earlier, Madhya Pradesh, overnight 261 for seven, added another 12 runs to the board before being bowled out nine overs into the first session. It was Srinivas and offie Washington Sundar who were instrumental in cutting short the tail. The duo completed their engagements with deserving three-wicket hauls that dented the confidence of the opposition side.

Tamil Nadu smelt a winning chance then and quickly enforced the follow on. It was quite understandable as the team management had discussed with the players in length the other day on the final day plans. And, it worked quite nicely as paceman Crist bowled with fire with the new ball. He bowled with a great deal of energy and also used the small, prominenly-seamed red cherry well to trouble the openers. And, they danced to his tunes.

Aditya Shrivastava was the first to go. He tried to flick a delivery that was going away and gifted an easy catch to Dinesh Karthik at gully. Rajat Patidar was shown the way out two balls later. This time Crist bowled a shorter one that took the batsman by surprise. Patidar tried to keep it down but found it pop out of his bat and, into the safe hands of Karthik.

Srinivas, playing his first match this season, spun the ball viciously as well. He trapped Mukul Raghav leg before and removed the in-form Devendra Bundela, the veteran skipper who played a big first innings knock, in a similar fashion in his very next over. With the skipper gone, Madhya Pradesh went on to the backfoot.

Tamil Nadu's skipper Abhinav Mukund set an attacking field and applied the pressure by rotating his bowlers wisely. But Sharma and Harpreet Singh decided to stick to the basics. They played straight and safe and gobbled up only those juicy ones that came their way. Their patience paid off and the runs started to come in quickly for the team in the post lunch session.

The duo put on a 109-run partnership for the fifth wicket. But just when the team seemed to be in some sort of a control, Aushik trapped a confident-looking Harpreet plumb in front just before tea but from there it was Sharma all the way.