Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Tamil Nadu pips Uttar Pradesh in race for first-innings points

Tamil Nadu took home three points after its gritty show against Uttar Pradesh in the Elite Group B Ranji Trophy match, which ended in a draw after an eventful final day.

B. Aparajith scored a crucial 53 in Tamil Nadu's second innings against Uttar Pradesh.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Tamil Nadu took home three points after its gritty show against Uttar Pradesh in the Elite Group B Ranji Trophy match, which ended in a draw after an eventful final day at the Green Park Stadium here on Monday.

In the morning, the exciting battle for the first-innings honours went the visitors' way as left-arm pacer T. Natarajan took the final wicket of skipper Ankit Rajpoot in his third over. The host's last-wicket pair needed to score just 11 to go past Tamil Nadu’s 180, but managed just five and conceded a five-run lead.

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Tamil Nadu began its second essay on a disastrous note, losing openers Ganga Sridhar Raju and L. Suryapprakash with just three runs on the board.

But Baba Aparajith (53, 130b, 6x4) steadied the ship, building two crucial 50-run partnerships, first with Kaushik Gandhi and then with the skipper Vijay Shankar for the third and fourth wickets.

The youngster displayed immense patience, handling the UP bowlers with aplomb on a last-day pitch that wasn't easy to bat on. Once Aparajith departed, caught behind by Upendra off pacer Rajpoot, the rest collapsed, with the team being bundled out for 154.

Saurabh scalps five again

Left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar finished with his second five-for, and a match-haul of 10 for 83, to throw open the contest.

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UP, sniffing a chance, went for it - 160 in 33 overs - as it had players like Rinku Singh and Mohd. Saif in its ranks. The former, who opened the innings along with Almas Shaukat, made his intentions clear as he took 10 off left-arm spinner Sai Kishore who was given the new ball. Rinku continued to go for it before Natarajan removed him and Saif off successive deliveries.

The fans, who had turned out in large numbers, kept rooting for UP before the umpires decided to pull down the shutters due to fading light.

Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 180 and 154 (B Aparajith 53, Saurabh Kumar 5-39) vs Uttar Pradesh 175 (Mohammed Saif 77; T Natarajan 4-24) and 42/2. Match Drawn. TN took first innings lead. TN: 3 points, UP: 1 point.