Ranji Trophy: TN loses plot after Abhinav-Washington opening show

From an inspiring position of 107 for one, Tamil Nadu slipped to 153 for six and finished the day with a lead of 64 runs.

Tamil Nadu v Mumbai Ranji Trophy Lahli 2016

Abhinav Mukund and Washington Sundar gave the Tamil Nadu response to the first-innings deficit of 89 runs a healthy look by carving a century partnership, but the middle-order failed to capitalise on it.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Two casual shots pushed Tamil Nadu on the defensive on the second day of the Ranji Trophy match against Mumbai here on Friday.

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Abhinav Mukund and Washington Sundar gave the Tamil Nadu response to the first-innings deficit of 89 runs a healthy look by carving a century partnership that gave the contest a touch of intense competition at the Chaudhary Bansi Lal Stadium. It, however, was not an association that could spill into the third day.

From an inspiring position of 107 for one, Tamil Nadu slipped to 153 for six and finished the day with a lead of 64 runs. If only Mukund could build on his splendid start and Dinesh Karthik realise the importance of his position in the team. Both fell in quick succession and gave the Mumbai bowling a flattering look.

The Ranji Trophy encounter went up a notch higher in terms of quality befitting the tournament even though there was not a spectator in sight at this pretty ground nestled amidst green fields. The motivation for Tamil Nadu to put up a fight after Mumbai called the shots was the 107-run opening stand. It was a welcome contrast from Tamil Nadu’s dismal show on the opening day but the exercise was in vain as Mumbai came back strongly in the final session.

To say the pitch had eased would take away the sheen from Mukund and Washington’s performance. When Mumbai resumed this morning, there was juice in the pitch and K. Vignesh, making his debut, added the scalps of overnight batsmen Aditya Tare and Kaustubh Pawar before cleaning up the innings with the wicket of Vijay Gohil, also a debutant. He was to leave Tamil Nadu in dire straits with his left-arm spin that fetched him three wickets after not getting to bowl in Tamil Nadu’s first innings.

Mumbai added 91 runs to its score of 85 for four as Tamil Nadu clawed its way back into the reckoning thanks to Vignesh, who looks a bright prospect. With a smooth action and accuracy as his forte, Vignesh gave an impressive display of seam bowling to reap five wickets to warm up for the season. His spell this morning was crucial to Tamil Nadu’s hopes of trying to stop Mumbai in its tracks.

Motivated by Vignesh giving his best, Washington grabbed the stage in the company of a determined Mukund to counter the Mumbai attack on a pitch that had eased a trifle. There was movement off the pitch and bounce too that gave the bowlers the advantage but Mukund blunted the challenge with some delightful footwork and judgment.

Mukund produced some exquisite drives square of the wicket and a few times left the crease to put away the ball but his dismissal left him distraught, playing across the line in front of the stumps. Worse was in store when Karthik came up with a suicidal scoop to nullify all the good work done by Mukund and Washington. By close, Mumbai was in a position of strength when play ended at 5.40 p.m.