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The Report by Nikita Bastian
November 18, 2011
Tamil Nadu 281 for 8 (Abhinav 89*, Prasanna 59, Mahesh 47) lead Delhi 212 (Chand 86, Nagar 59) by 69 runs with two wickets remaining
A determined innings from Abhinav Mukund and resistance from the lower order helped Tamil Nadu secure a first-innings lead against Delhi at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Abhinav was struck on the jaw by a Pradeep Sangwan delivery that kicked off a length and forced him to retire hurt on 39, before he returned to carry Tamil Nadu to 281 for 8 at stumps, with a lead of 69.
Abhinav had an x-ray done that showed no fracture and told ESPNcricinfo after the day's play that he was having trouble talking, but was "feeling comfortable enough to bat".
Tamil Nadu would have fallen short of Delhi's 212 if the hosts had not wasted several chances. M Vijay and Abhinav took Tamil Nadu to 35 before a double-strike from Ashish Nehra opened up the match. Nehra, on first-class return, trapped Vijay lbw as he shouldered arms to a ball that didn't get up much and struck him on off and middle. Arun Karthik was bowled first ball to leave Nehra on a hat-trick, but Dinesh Karthik denied him.
Dinesh offered a simple catch to the slip cordon soon after, off Parvinder Awana, but Yogesh Nagar could not hold on. However, it did not cost Delhi too much, as Dinesh edged behind on 18. Baba Aparajith, too, could not make use of a life - wicketkeeper Puneet Bisht had fumbled a stumping chance off Vikas Mishra, but he fell off the very next ball for just 6, trapped in front by an arm ball. By this point Tamil Nadu had also lost K Vasudevadas for a duck and were struggling at 88 for 5.
R Prasanna and Yo Mahesh then began to repair the innings. Prasanna survived on 13, after fending one off Nehra that went between the slips and gully, and again on 20 - dropped at second slip by Milind Kumar off Awana. Mahesh was very cautious to begin with, crawling to 3 off 49 balls, before he began to open up a little. Prasanna got to a fifty as the pair marginally increased the run-rate - the third fifty of the innings came off 85 balls, following 119 and 127-ball fifties.
Delhi put down another chance when Mahesh was dropped by the wicketkeeper off Mithun Manhas' part-time offspin, but the Delhi captain soon struck. He had Prasanna lbw, after the batsman failed to offer a shot, to end the stubborn 86-run stand.
Abhinav returned now, with Tamil Nadu still trailing by 38. He kept chipping away at the lead with Mahesh and got to a fifty post tea. Mahesh was finally snagged by Awana for 47, but he had done his job as Tamil Nadu were just five short of taking the lead by then. L Balaji, though he looked uncomfortable, hung around with Abhinav as Tamil Nadu went ahead, and fell just prior to stumps for a hard-fought 16 off 55 balls.
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Bide your time, put your body behind each delivery, and play with the batsman's mind