Badrinath double punishes Mumbai
Mumbai 10 for 0 trail Tamil Nadu 501 (Badrinath 250, Ganapathy 126) by 491 runs
S Badrinath tormented Mumbai for the second straight day, his magnificent double-century strengthening Tamil Nadu's position at the Bandra Kurla Complex. With the pitch slowing down drastically, Badrinath and his overnight partner C Ganapathy took advantage with a 328-run stand that pushed the visitors past 500.
Mumbai's new-ball pair troubled the batsmen with their movement early on Tuesday and would have hoped for a repeat today. But Badrinath and Ganapathy brought to the crease the same solidity that helped them dominate yesterday, Ganapathy leading the charge while Badrinath played anchor.
They were also helped by the low and slow track that gave the batsmen enough time to read the line and play comfortably. Yesterday Ganapathy was happy stealing runs at one end as the Mumbai bowlers tried to hunt down Badrinath. Ganapathy lacks his partner's flourish but compensated by playing to the ball's merit.
He also showed admirable patience for a bowler-turned-allrounder, enough to exhaust the Mumbai attack. He reached his maiden century with a firm push off Abhishek Nayar to the midwicket boundary, a big moment for the 28-year-old: he went down on one knee and doffed his cap towards the dressing room where his team-mates cheered wildly. The century continues a fantastic season for Ganapathy, the leading Ranji allrounder with 320 runs and 16 wickets.
As the day progressed it seemed the only way Mumbai could dislodge the pair was through a run-out. And that's exactly what happened: a few overs after lunch Badrinath tapped to cover and rushed out for a single, Ganapathy hesitated, though, and his indecision cost him as Iqbal Abdulla came up with a direct hit.
But Mumbai's troubles were far from over as Badrinath's appetite for runs was huge. For much of the first two sessions he had been content to rotate the strike. His first boundary arrived in the day's 10th over with a beautifully timed square cut off Malvi. Nayar's first delivery of the day, short and wide of off stump, was summarily dispatched past point. Badrinath understood that the only way Tamil Nadu could continue to dominate the game was by extending their stay at the wicket. So he played for time. Between lunch and tea he scored just 37 runs, defending every bowler stoutly.
Sadly there was an absence of a contest as the Mumbai bowlers failed to exert any control over their lengths. The only time the ball beat the batsman was when Dhawal Kulkarni got some seam movement early morning. Bowling in the channel Kulkarni, last year's leading wicket-taker, had tempted Ganapathy to attempt a shot. He nearly succeeded the first time as the outside edge flew to the right of Wasim Jaffer at first slip. Kulkarni repeated the same ball, which missed Ganpathy's outside edge by inches. But for the rest of the day the Mumbai bowlers just went through the motions. Even the spinners resorted to defensive lines once they realised they were not getting any turn or bounce.
It was little surprise then that Badrinath helped himself to his fourth double century, and his first against Mumbai, rocking back to cut Nayar beautifully behind square. After Ganapathy's exit, he marshalled the tail nicely to push the visitors past 500.
But the job is only half done for Tamil Nadu and a challenge awaits their bowlers, who will have to stay patient to prise out wickets. WV Raman, Tamil Nadu's coach, agreed. "Based on the how our batsmen applied themselves my bowlers would have a tough job," he said.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo