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Alagappan Muthu in Chennai
December 7, 2013
Tamil Nadu 101 for 3 trail Baroda 162 by 61 runs
Tamil Nadu's quest for an outright victory was jolted by persistent rain in Chennai as only one session of play was possible on the second day of their match against Baroda. The hosts reached 101 for 3, with a busy Dinesh Karthik and a dogged B Indrajith at the crease, but will rue the time lost to weather considering they are looking for their first win of the season.
A spinner-friendly track was prepared with a view to heighten the chances of a result - Tamil Nadu, at fifth place in Group B with four successive draws so far, need one to have a realistic shot at the title. However, they are still trailing Baroda by 61 runs in their first innings and have only two days left to force the issue.
The overnight batsmen, Abhinav Mukund and Arun Karthik, made conscious efforts to upset the opposition spinners. Neither batsman was shy of using their feet - Mukund reaped 10 runs in left-arm spinner Ketul Patel's third over and Arun Karthik even played a scoop over fine leg off Yusuf Pathan.
Bhagav Bhatt, subsequently, began holding his length back and the adjustment bore fruit. Arun Karthik was trapped in front and the next two blows could have proved immensely vital had there been a full day's play.
Abhinav, who had come into this match on the back of a big double-century, was prised out by a big turner from Yusuf. Having switched his angle to around the wicket, he got one to pitch on middle, turn right across the blade and knock back the off stump. If anyone was in better form than Abhinav, it was the man who replaced him. B Aparajith smoked 212 on Duleep Trophy debut and began his Ranji Trophy campaign this year with a double-ton against Services, and has scored at least a half-century in every game that followed. Today though, he underestimated Yusuf's turn and was out lbw for 2 and Tamil Nadu were 67 for 3.
His twin brother, Indrajith, playing in his second first-class match, displayed assured footwork while Dinesh Karthik produced a typically active little innings to guide Tamil Nadu to lunch without any further damage.
Tamil Nadu will need to push on tomorrow and their bowling will need to pick up 10 wickets for a second time - they've not picked up 20 wickets in a game this season - for them to break into the top half of the points table, considering they only have three group matches left.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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