Ranji Trophy: Tamil Nadu leads Tripura, thanks to Washington's 156*

Washington Sundar's unbeaten 156 underlined his promise and powered Tamil Nadu to a 74-run lead over Tripura with eight wickets remaining.

The effortlessness with which Washington Sundar struck the ball during his maiden Ranji hundred demanded attention.   -  M. VEDHAN

Washington Sundar stood tall and whipped the ball off his legs. On view was poise, balance and a distinctive quality some left-handers possess – `lazy’ elegance.

Actually, this ‘lazy’ elegance is a lot about picking the length early and making suitable adjustments to footwork that creates more time and makes the batsman’s response appear relaxed and easy.

On a murky, cloudy second day of the Ranji duel here, Washington’s iridescent strokeplay lighted up the proceedings.  

The young southpaw’s unbeaten 156 (223b, 14x4, 1x6) not just underlined his promise but also powered Tamil Nadu to a 74-run lead over Tripura with eight wickets remaining at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium.

Replying to Tripura’s first innings 258, Tamil Nadu was 332 for two at stumps.

Washington and the efficient B. Indrajith (73 batting, 121b, 6x4) have added 152 in an unbroken third-wicket stand off 216 balls.   

With a stiff neck keeping Murali Vijay out of the match, Washington opened the innings with skipper Abhinav.

And, the effortlessness with which Washington struck the ball during his maiden Ranji hundred demanded attention. Washington has a pronounced back-lift but the bat, importantly, comes down straight. He also has a forward press but can shift his weight to the back leg if the length demands so.

The back swing was smooth as he straight drove. And his nonchalant six over covers off off-spinner Joydeep Bhattacharjee was a stunning blow.

WASHINGTON: 'FEELS GOOD GETTING FIRST RANJI HUNDRED'

Washington Sundar sported a shy smile after his unbeaten 156.

He said, “It feels really good, getting my first Ranji hundred at Chepauk. Such a moment is always in your head.”

Washington said he was comfortable opening the innings but would bat at any position of the team wanted him too. If Murali Vijay returned for the next game – the key duel against Mumbai – Washington said he would me more than happy to bat lower down the order.

Asked whether he preferred batting over his off-spin, Washington replied, “I like both, I am a genuine all-rounder.”

Was he disappointed about being under-bowled in the first game against Andhra? Washington answered, “Not at all. I know Ashwin is among the top bowlers in the world. I am prepared to wait for my turn.”

The Tripura attack was not threatening, the surface played good and the Tamil Nadu batting machine finally started to roll.

Washington and skipper Abhinav (76, 130b, 10x4) put on 162 runs in 247 deliveries in an all left-hand association for the first wicket.

Abhinav essayed some punishing shots, opening up the field on the off-side with cover-drives, cuts and glides before being picked up at deep point off off-spinner Joydeep Bhattacharjee.

Kaushik Gandhi perished to an attempted sweep shot off left-arm spinner Gurinder Singh. Then, the organised Indrajith, driving, flicking and cutting the ball into the open spaces provided Washington solid support.

In the morning, Tamil Nadu made short work of the last three Tripura wickets. Lively seamer K. Vignesh scalped four. He made the lower order batsmen smell leather with short pitched deliveries and then consumed them with lateral movement.

Later, Washington took flight.

BRIEF SCORECARD

Tripura 258 in 96.1 overs (Smit Patel 99, Yashpal Singh 96; K. Vignesh four for 41) vs Tamil Nadu 332 for two in 81 overs (M. S. Washington Sundar 156, Abhinav Mukund 76; Gurinder Singh one for 61)

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