A Tamil Nadu-Karnataka game is one of the marquee clashes on the domestic calendar. True to its billing, the two sides dished out a humdinger that went down to the wire before ending in a stalemate at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Monday.
TN, chasing 355 on the final day of the Ranji Trophy clash, came within striking distance of the target before finishing 17 runs behind, while Karnataka was two wickets away from a win.
However, the match would not have gone so deep if not for half-centuries from Pradosh Ranjan Paul (74), B. Indrajith (98) and Vijay Shankar (60), which kept the host in the hunt despite facing stiff odds at the start of the day.
A lot depended on Indrajith for TN to have a chance of even salvaging a point on a pitch assisting spinners, and the 29-year-old rose to the occasion.
Indrajith was nimble on his feet, especially off the backfoot against the tweakers and held fort at one end, building partnerships with Pradosh and later Vijay Shankar - with whom he added 125 runs for the sixth wicket.
Overnight batters Pradosh and opener Vimal Khumar played out the first hour without trouble after resuming the day on 36 for one. Pradosh looked fluent and hit a flurry of boundaries, as TN managed 114 runs in the first session. The left-hander targeted the square boundary with consecutive ramp shots over the slips off V. Kaverappa. He reached his half-century with a sweep to the fence off Hardik Raj.
However, just 10 minutes before lunch, the 23-year-old poked at a delivery from Vyshak and was caught at slip.
At 199 for five, Indrajith and Vijay Shankar needed to bat out nearly 34 overs. The former hit a few boundaries before Vijay joined the act with a swept four and six, forcing the visitor to go on the defensive by bowling negative leg-side lines with nine fielders on the ropes. The duo ran a lot of twos and reduced the target to 97 off the last 15 mandatory overs.
Karnataka took the new ball with 41 needed off the last five and got a breakthrough when Indrajith was run out trying to steal a single, two short of a well-deserved century.
In the next over, Vijay Shankar was caught at long-on off Vyshak, and TN’s charge ended at that point, but not before putting on a show that added lustre to this famed rivalry.
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