Ranji Trophy: UP makes TN bowlers toil, posts huge total

UP started the day with much more aggression as the ball kept low and there was little support for the bowlers. Overnight batsmen Samarth and Umang Sharma scored quickly.

Samarth Singh’s 187 helped Uttar Pradesh score a mammoth score of 524 in its first innings against Tamil Nadu.   -  R.V. Moorthy

Thangarasu Natarajan bent his back and was rewarded with four wickets on Friday in what was a far more productive day on the field for Tamil Nadu even as Uttar Pradesh racked up 524 runs in its first innings, built largely around Samarth Singh’s 187 with handy contributions all around. Tamil Nadu was 34 for one at stumps in its chase with Abhinav Mukund on 18 and Kaushik Gandhi yet to open his account.

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The left-arm seamer from Salem had done the hard work, including nine maiden overs to concede a measly 23 runs in his 18 overs, on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy game as well but had little to show for it. The miserly show continued but this time with wickets to accompany as two strikes in as many balls, including that of the free-stroking Samarth, ensured a brake to UP scoring.

Having made an impression in the TNPL recently, Natarajan proved his impressive performance against Railways in the previous game was no fluke. After Sarfaraz Khan nicked one to Dinesh Karthik trying to cut Krishnamoorthy Vignesh, Natarajan swung the ball to find the outside edge from Samarth, who tried to offer a forward defensive shot. Next ball, Mohammad Kaif was caught by Baba Indrajith at first slip, becoming the third wicket to fall with the score stagnant on 338.

“Our plan was to contain runs and I specially was trying to bowl to my strengths and make the batsman play in front and try to induce an edge. They managed to get a lot of quick runs early on but one lucky break (Samarth) opened the doors. After that they went for the shots and kept hitting hard which got them runs but also helped us get the wickets,” Natarajan said, adding that he tried to put the ball in places where the odd one swung a bit.

UP started the day with much more aggression as the ball kept low and there was little support for the bowlers. Overnight batsmen Samarth and Umang Sharma scored quickly. Sharma missed out on his half century, caught behind off Aswin Crist on 46, Samarth and Sarfaraz kept the scoreboard ticking as UP scored 104 runs in 17 overs to cross the 300-run mark.

Once the hard-hitting Sarfaraz was gone, captain Eklavya Dwivedi took charge, smashing the ball twice over the sightscreen and once over midwicket and five fours on either side behind the stumps for a 72-run partnership with Kuldeep Yadav. The lower order got crucial runs as well, Saurabh Kumar getting a 54-ball 51, as UP went past 500 for the first time this season.

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