Ranji Trophy: Odisha bats back to halt TN’s push for victory

While Odisha added only 250 runs on day three with another 245 to overhaul TN’s total, the gritty effort has affected the latter’s hope of enforcing a result in the Ranji Trophy match at Cuttack.

Odisha’s Natraj Behera plays a shot on the third day of the Ranji Trophy match between Tamil Nadu and Odisha at Cuttack.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

After toiling for two days on the field, Odisha returned the favour to Tamil Nadu here at the DRIEMS ground with great determination to end the day on 286 for four in reply to the visitor’s 530.

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While Odisha added only 250 runs on day three with another 245 to overhaul TN’s total, the gritty effort has affected the latter’s hope of enforcing a result.

TN bowlers bowled with discipline on an unhelpful wicket but the catching was a huge let down with three simple catches spilled.

Earlier, Odisha batsman dominated the opening session with openers Sandeep Pattanaik and Natraj Behera slamming half-centuries and the duo adding 128 runs together.

Behera started with two boundaries off K. Vignesh before Pattanaik got into the act quickly racing ahead of his partner at the other end with some fine shots to the fence off pacer Lakshman. In the first 16 overs, Odisha managed 61 runs without losing a wicket.

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Yo Mahesh was introduced in the 34th over and immediately looked impressive troubling the batsman and getting some purchase of the wicket. He finally prevailed in the 42nd over when he snapped Pattanaik at short extra cover inducing the fall stroke.

Immediately after the wicket, ‘keeper N. Jagadeesan stepped on the ball and twisted his ankle and was substituted by reserve keeper R. Rohith - TN taking advantage of the new ICC rules.

But it was not a great day for the substitute ‘keeper as he dropped Odisha skipper Govinda Poddar on four, a regulation catch to his right off Yo Mahesh.

Post lunch, off-spinner Washington Sundar bowled an impressive long spell after just bowling one over before lunch. The youngster bowled tight lines before changing ends to the pavilion end and was successful immediately when he scalped Poddar, caught at short midwicket, going for a slog.

Washington struck again in the same over getting Subhransu Senapati bowled, going for an expansive drive.

Behera, who at the other end was slowly building his innings, upped his scoring rate hitting Washington for a six and a boundary of one over. But the opener missed out on a well deserved hundred when he was trapped leg before for 91 by left arm spinner Rahil Shah.

Shantanu Mishra and Biplab Samantaray however kept TN at bay batting out the whole of the last session but not before giving a chance.

Mishra was given a reprieve on 28 when a well executed plan by Vijay Shankar, bowling short into his body with a leg gully, nearly worked. Mishra tried to fend it off through the leg side and gave a simple catch to keeper Rohith who missed it completely.

In the penultimate over, Samantaray on 38 pulled Washington to the midwicket fence but Vijay Shankar running a few yards and diving to his right could not hold on to the chance.

TN now faces an uphill task to take 16 wickets and force a result on the last day to brighten its chances of qualifying for the knockouts.

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