Ranji Trophy: Saurabh Kumar orchestrates TN collapse after strong start

Tamil Nadu was unable to build on the start given by openers Ganga Sridhar Raju and L. Suryaprakash as Saurabh Kumar claimed three wickets for Uttar Pradesh.

Saurabh Kumar (left) claimed 3-39 as Tamil Nadu was reduced to 165 for 6 in the first innings against Uttar Pradesh.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Openers L. Suryapprakash (51, 159b, 6x4) and Ganga Sridhar Raju (45, 88b, 8x4) did the bulk of the scoring as Tamil Nadu finished the second day at 165 for six against Uttar Pradesh in their Elite Group B Ranji Trophy clash at the Green Park Stadium here on Saturday.

The start was delayed by 105 minutes due to bad light before Uttar Pradesh captain Ankit Rajpoot won the toss and asked the visitors to take strike. The decision looked vindicated as Rajpoot himself got Suryapprakash in the third over of the day. However, much to the batsman's relief and Uttar Pradesh's agony, the bowler had overstepped.

Cashing in on the reprieve, Suryapprakash, in the company of Ganga Sridhar, added 79 before the latter fell to a well-disguised delivery off left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar. Rajpoot's luck changed after lunch as he sent back Kaushik Gandhi and B. Aparajith in quick time.

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Skipper Vijay Shankar, who walked in next, made his intentions clear: be positive and counterattack. He smashed three boundaries off a Rajpoot over and looked in control before being surprised by a delivery from leg-spinner Zeeshan Ansari that dipped. Vijay Shankar (24, 17b, 5x4) tried to dig it out, but ended up offering a catch to substitute Umang Sharma at mid-off. N. Jagadeesan, too, showed positive signs but did not last long.

Suryapprakash, who showed immense patience all along, finally succumbed to Saurabh’s spin. And the umpires soon called off play owing to fading light.

“The wicket was doing a bit and it was keeping low. Surya and Ganga (Sridhar Raju) batted really well,” said Vijay Shankar.

If the weather doesn't affect play in the next two days, an intriguing battle between bat and ball awaits.


Brief scores:

Tamil Nadu - 1st innings: 165 for 6 in 56 overs (Ganga Sridhar Raju 45, L. Suryapprakash 51) vs Uttar Pradesh (Saurabh Kumar 3-39).
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