Ranji Trophy: MP shows fight but TN eye first innings lead

Skipper Devendra Bundela (93, 193b, 13x4, 1x6) and Shubham Sharma (85,160b, 12x4) struck a 160-run partnership as Madhya Pradesh finished the day at 261 for seven against Tamil Nadu on the penultimate day of the Group 'A' Ranji Trophy clash at the DRIEMS College grounds here on Saturday

Aswin Crist in action against Madhya Pradesh.

Skipper Devendra Bundela (93, 193b, 13x4, 1x6) and Shubham Sharma (85,160b, 12x4) struck a 160-run partnership as Madhya Pradesh finished the day at 261 for seven against Tamil Nadu on the penultimate day of the Group 'A' Ranji Trophy clash at the DRIEMS College grounds here on Saturday.

The duo looked good for most part but part-time spinner Washington Sundar struck twice to remove both the batsmen in the space of six overs to give Tamil Nadu the edge going into the final day.

Earlier, Tamil Nadu, after knocking it around for three overs at the start, declared its first innings at 555 for seven. Its overnight batsmen Jagadeesan and Aswin Crist further added seven runs to the scorecard of 547.

It seemed a tactical ploy to rattle the mindset of the opposition early. And, it did work well for the team as it had sliced the top order nicely before lunch (90 for four).

Opener Mukul Raghav fell leg before to left-arm paceman T. Natarajan. Medium pacer Crist soon removed Rajat Patidar with a delivery that shot up viciously and, the latter gifted a dolly to Dinesh Karthik at square leg.

Shrivastava joined his skipper Devendra Bundela in building the innings but it lasted only for a brief period. After showing great patience, the former tried to steal a single,which was not there, and ran himself out. Abhinav Mukund was quick on his feet. He picked the ball clean from the cover region and threw it to gloveman N. Jagadeesan, who made no mistake.

Left-arm spinner Aushik Srinivas was the given the task midway through to unsettle the batsmen. He did not disappoint. He trapped the free-flowing Harpreet Singh plumb in front.in only his fourth over.

But Bundela stood strong among the ruins. A veteran of many seasons, the well-built skipper smashed a good delivery to the mid-on fence for his half century. It was his 69th fifty and was filled with nine neatly-timed hits to the ropes.He grew in confidence from there and proved that to a good measure by hoisting

Rangarajan over deep mid-wicket for a six. Shubham Sharma offered him the right support. And, the duo went on to build a strong partnership It mattered most for the team. Shubham, who played second fiddle at the start, played quite freely after tea and the runs flowed in quickly. But Sundar's twin-strike towards the end dealt a severe blow for Madhya Pradesh.