It was the day of bowlers on the third day here between Baroda and Tamil Nadu (TN) with 15 wickets falling.
First, Baroda’s paceman Lukman Meriwala and Atit Sheth struck thrice in the first four overs of the day to quickly bundle TN out and take a 35-run first innings lead.
But Tamil Nadu came back strongly into the game, led by pacers K. Vignesh, Yo Mahesh and M. Mohammed, to bowl out Baroda for 197 and restrict the lead to 232 to give itself a good chance of victory.
TN needs 231 more runs on the final day to end the season on a positive note after Mumbai’s win on Monday knocked it out of the competition.
Earlier, left-arm pacer Meriwala picked the two overnight batsmen, J. Kousik — off the first ball of the day caught flicking to the leg side — and then B. Aparajith, pegging his off-stump back.
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Atit Sheth soon accounted for Mohammed reducing TN to 236 for eight before Yo Mahesh and R. Sai Kishore steadied things.
The duo put on 38 runs and ensured no further damage till the drinks. But as it happens so often, in the second over after the short break, Swapnil picked up the last two wickets off consecutive deliveries to help his side take the lead.
In the 11 overs before lunch, TN managed to remove opener Aditya Waghmode. But it all started in the second session of the day when pacer Vignesh produced yet another fine display of fast bowling picking three quick wickets to put Baroda under the mat.
He was able to move the ball and sow seeds of confusion in the batsmen’s mind forcing them to fish outside the off-stump. Baroda skipper Deepak Hooda received a brilliant delivery that opened him up and clipped the top of off-stump.
At one stage, Baroda was struggling at 68 for five before Atit Sheth and Swapnil Singh counterattacked the TN bowlers to see of the tough spell. They took Baroda to 97 for five at tea.
The duo added 66 runs for the sixth wicket in just 16 overs and stunted TN’s progress before Yo Mahesh picked two wickets in one over.
Mohammed then came back and picked two more wickets while for Baroda, Kartik Kakade once again played a cameo making 33 to take the lead past 200.
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