It has been Tamil Nadu’s bugbear this season and once again, it let the opposition off the hook, allowing Baroda to post 309 from 176 for seven, in the first innings on the second day here on Sunday. In reply, after a poor start, half-centuries from B. Aparajith and B. Indrajith helped Tamil Nadu finish Day Two strongly on 226 for five.
Earlier, Swapnil Singh, who was unbeaten on 94, led an onslaught as he smashed his way to his second century of the season. He scored 144 off 226 balls with eight sixes (five of those coming in the morning session) and 13 boundaries.
Tamil Nadu struck early in the second over when K. Vignesh dismissed Rudresh Vaghela before Swapnil Singh took charge. When on 97, he smashed Mohammed for a huge six over mid-wicket to get to his hundred. He added 50 off the 55 runs Baroda made on the second day before Yo Mahesh had him caught behind.
Baroda’s pacers Lukman Meriwala and Atit Sheth bowled impressively with pace and discipline, troubling the Tamil Nadu openers and giving away little. Meriwala was rewarded as he picked the wicket of Jagadeesan, who edged to first slip Aditya Waghmode. Waghmode fumbled his catch before Deepak Hooda at second slip held on to it with one hand.
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Dhruv Patel then accounted for skipper Abhinav, by snaffling him at gully to leave Tamil Nadu struggling at 32 for two. Post lunch too, Baroda bowlers were in control. Kaushik Gandhi started to find his feet, hitting a few boundaries, before he, too, was dismissed. He was caught at slip off Sheth, who was returning for his second spell.
With score at 74 for three, Aparajith joined his brother and looked positive from the outset. He hit four boundaries quickly, two consecutive ones off left-arm spinner Vaghela as Tamil Nadu went to tea for 112 for three. After tea, Indrajith who started slowly, went aggressive as he hit left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh over long-on for a six to move from 30 to 36. He quickly found three more boundaries to bring his fifty. He was eventually caught at long-on trying to hit off-spinner Kartik Kakade.
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At the other end, Aparajith consolidated and got to his fifty. All-rounder J. Kousik, who walked in at No. 7, kept busy, rotating the strike regularly and quickly moved to 37 with two fours and a six.
Was it disappointing to let the opposition off the hook again? Aparajith said, “I think we need to give credit to Swapnil for the way he batted. Our bowlers bowled well and it is not that we let tailenders score. One batsman made almost half of those runs and we did well to get nine wickets for 150 odd.”
He added, “The morning session will be crucial and we need to ensure we bat only once.”
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