Ankit Dane (63, 125b, 8x4, 1x6) and Ankit Sharma (75 n.o., 161b, 12x4) were engaged in a 120-run sixth wicket stand as Madhya Pradesh ended Day One at 224 for seven versus Tamil Nadu in the Group C Ranji trophy match here on Friday.
Tamil Nadu won the toss and bowled as it snapped up two wickets in the first fifteen overs.
There were two distinct moves that Tamil Nadu captain Abhinav Mukund made. At one point, he accorded four slips to Yomahesh, who opened the bowling with Mohammed. Then, in what was a rewarding spark of inspiration, he positioned himself at short mid-off and took a catch the next ball - Rajat Patidar, as if obliged to, pushed the ball to Mukund off Mohammed.
Patidar had remarkably pulled Yomahesh for a four between deep midwicket and cow corner.
For briefly after the wicket, the batsmen seemed especially uneasy. Shubham Sharma and opener Aditya Shrivastava survived back-to-back lbw appeals. Then, Shubham almost nicked a ball, and edged one close past the third slip for four.
Mohammed had Shrivastava caught behind. The batsman had notably struck a resounding cover drive for four off Yomahesh.
With no fans to cheer, the fielders frequently cheered the toiling bowlers with rhythmic clapping. One time, particularly, they did it at length when K. Vignesh had just come in to bowl.
Vignesh claimed the next three wickets to have Madhya Pradesh reduced to 77 for five at lunch. While he forced Shubham Sharma and Devendra Bundela nick one to the 'keeper and the second slip, the dismissal of Harpreet Singh Bhatia in between was an easy bait-and-trap. Mukund had a long leg in place, and the bowler had been bowling short to try make the batsman hook which he finally did. The shot was aptly timed to find Sai Kishore at long leg.
No bowler had bowled from around the wicket until Mohammed did so for the left-handed Ankit Sharma after lunch.
Ankit Dane and Ankit Sharma ensured the second session belonged to Madhya Pradesh. Dane hit a straight six off off-spinner Malolan Rangarajan, the only six of the day.
Malolan was introduced only after 40 overs, and left-arm spinner Sai Kishore in the 52nd over. From there, Sai Kishore and Washington Sundar bowled a spell in tandem.
After tea, just when the bowling seemed it had gotten benign, Washington had Dane caught by Indrajith at short leg. Indrajith dropped Ankit Sharma off the next ball bowled by Sai Kishore, and made up for it seven balls later with a safe take to dismiss Puneet Datey off Washington.