Tamil Nadu survived some anxious moments before snatching three points for the first innings lead against Andhra on the final day of its drawn Group B Ranji Trophy encounter at the CSR Sarma College grounds on Friday.
Resuming at 122 for three, Tamil Nadu suffered an early setback with the in-form N. Jagadeesan edging one to wicketkeeper Siva Charan off Ayyappa in the first over.
B. Anirudh, who walked in next, got off the mark with a boundary, a lovely straight drive. Baba Aparajith (57, 184b, 6x4), the other overnight batsman, was in no hurry, though.
He was solid in defence and resisted the temptation to play the big shots. The pair, however, was quick between the wickets as Tamil Nadu went to lunch at 147 for four.
A disciplined Andhra attack got good support from its fielders. Jyothi Sai Krishna took a sharp catch at silly point off spinner Shoaib Mohammed to dismiss Anirudh with the score at 158.
In walked J. Kousik. He played his shots with positive intent and stepped up the scoring rate. Aparajith, who continued to be rock-solid brought up his half-century off 171 balls.
TN reached 200 in the 86th over before Andhra broke the 43-run sixth-wicket stand, when Aparajith was caught brilliantly by Siva Charan off Karthik Raman.
Soon, M. Mohammed was run out off a direct hit by Ayyappa. Karthik Raman gave Andhra some hope when he took the vital wicket of Kousik with the score at 214.
However, R. Sai Kishore and K. Vignesh kept a cool head and helped their team surpass the opponent's first innings total of 216. Tamil Nadu was eventually dismissed for 254.
“It feels good scoring a half-century on this wicket, still I shouldn’t have got out. But the innings has certainly given me the confidence, as we move further into the tournament,” said Aparajith.
Earlier, after a steady drizzle washed out day three, the final day’s play started at 10.30 a.m. due wet outfield.
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