Ranji Trophy: Murali Vijay hits century as TN dominates Day 1

M. Vijay showed his class with a brilliant 140 (272b, 15x4, 1x6) to set a platform for Tamil Nadu to aim for a big total in the crucial match against Odisha.

Murali Vijay hits the ball past Biplab Samantray in Cuttack on Thursday.

M. Vijay might have joined the side only on Wednesday night, but the India opener showed his class with a brilliant 140 (272b, 15x4, 1x6) to set a platform for Tamil Nadu to aim for a big total in the crucial match against Odisha here. 

TN ended Day 1 on 292 for three in the Group C clash with B. Indrajith batting well on 41 alongside Vijay Shankar. Murali Vijay, who is coming back after a wrist injury that forced him to skip the tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year, looked untroubled in the middle and played a composed innings.

Scorecard

For Vijay, it was the perfect way to get into groove before joining the national side for the upcoming Lanka series.  On a two-paced wicket where stroke making was not easy, Vijay’s experience came in handy and it showed in the way he paced his innings. 

Electing to bat, the TN openers started cautiously before skipper Abhinav picked a few boundaries.  However, just  as he got his eye in, a terrible mix up ensued when Abhinav played to the point fielder and set off but was sent back by Vijay halfway down.

READ: 'I will soon win a Ranji Trophy for TN'

With regular number three M. Kaushik Gandhi dropped in favour of B. Aparajith, N. Jagadeesan was promoted up the order and the wicketkeeper batsman wasted no time in getting into the zone.

Jagadeesan stepped on the pedal immediately with a flurry of boundaries including a six over fine-leg off medium pacer Alok Sahoo. While the first ten overs only yielded 19 runs, TN got the next 40 runs in just 8.3 overs. Vijay produced his now trademark style of starting slowly and getting his eye in, before stepping up the pace.

At the other end, Jagadeesan quickly raced to 48 off just 47 balls with two boundaries through the off-side of Sahoo's bowling and got to his fifty before lunch.

Post lunch, Odisha employed spin at both ends and were partially successful in stemming the free flow of runs and quickly got through the overs. But the bowling was far from threatening as Vijay and Jagadeesan batted away with ease. Jagadeesan, who made a century on debut last year at this ground against Madhya Pradesh, was nearing his second hundred when he was dismissed half hour before tea for 88, caught behind off spinner Govinda Poddar.

Post tea, Vijay cut loose and went after Dhiraj Singh for a six and four over long off in an over to move to the nineties. In the next over off Singh, Vijay again picked two boundaries, the second one a cut through the third man bringing up his tenth Ranji Trophy hundred. His final 61 runs in the last session came off just 83 balls with eight boundaries and a six before he was dismissed in the 86th over caught and bowled to a good catch by pacer Suryakant Pradhan on his follow through.

With a perfect platform set, TN would now want to bat big and bat once to force a much needed outright win.

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