Ranji Trophy: UP, Tamil Nadu settle for a draw

Having been out-batted twice so far despite scoring in excess of 400, UP had a fight on its hands before Tamil Nadu was bowled out for 479, chasing UP's first-innings score of 524.

The fight was led mainly by an aggressive, unbeaten 127-run knock by Baba Indrajith partnering the tail for a large part of his innings.   -  V. Ganesan

Uttar Pradesh managed to take three points courtesy a 45-run first-innings lead for the first time this season as the third round Ranji Trophy match against Tamil Nadu petered into a predictable draw here on Sunday.

Having been out-batted twice so far despite scoring in excess of 400, UP had a fight on its hands before Tamil Nadu was bowled out for 479, chasing UP's first-innings score of 524.

That fight was led mainly by an aggressive, unbeaten 127-run knock by Baba Indrajith partnering the tail for a large part of his innings. His 146-ball stay at the crease was largely about taking as much pressure and shielding his partners as it was about keeping the scoreboard ticking.

“There wasn't pressure because I have batted with the lower order often, I have been batting at No. 6 and 7 for the past two seasons. I knew if we had two 40-run partnerships and get close to the total, the pressure would be on the opposition instead.

"Also, it is not possible to shield the lower order all the time. If you need 130-odd runs with four wickets, both players have to score. Initially I tried to take the strike because I wanted the other batsman to see how the pitch played.

"Once I was confident he could take on a particular bowler, I would let him play more,” Indrajith said.

Already six wickets down at stumps on the third day, Tamil Nadu's fortunes depended on Indrajith and the 22-year old stepped up.

He cut and drove the seamers and stepped out to the spinners, mixing boundaries and singles for his 18 fours and two sixes for his third Ranji Trophy century.

Overnight batsman Aswin Crist was the first to go, cleaned up by Imtiaz Ahmed five overs into the final day. Rahil Shah and Vignesh K became the next two victims of Ankit Rajpoot, unable to handle the seam and speed and edging to the slips.

Rajpoot finished with four wickets even as the cracks began opening up, making it difficult to judge the bounce of the ball.

Indrajith's partnerships of 64, 27 and 43 runs with Rangarajan, Shah and Natarajan respectively raised hopes before Natarajan was stumped off Saurabh Kumar to end the innings.

UP walked out to bat a second time and lost captain Eklavya Dwivedi with the score on 40 just before lunch but with the team intent on continuing, there was little hope of any result.

Tanmay Srivastava got his second 50 of the match to put together 73 runs with Mohammad Saif before the match was called off after the mandatory overs had been bowled an hour and half before time.

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