Rajasthan v TN, Ranji Trophy semi-final, Jaipur, 3rd day January 6, 2011

Rajasthan enter final despite Badrinath's heroics


Rajasthan 552 for 7 decl (Chopra 139, Menaria 106, Kanitkar 100*) drew with Tamil Nadu 385 (Badrinath 175) and 2 for 0

Rajasthan's dream is still alive. They couldn't dislodge Tamil Nadu's wall, S Badrinath, but dismantled the rest brick by brick to enter their first Ranji final since the 1973-74 season. The seamers, Pankaj Singh, Deepak Chahar and Sumit Mathur, sparkled on a docile track to apply the squeeze, and the legspinner Vivek Yadav ran through the lower order to shove Tamil Nadu out of the competition. Tamil Nadu, if they didn't get bowled out, had to score 272 runs in 90 overs on the final day to go through based on net run-rate but they were shot out in the last session.

For 10 hours and five minutes, Badrinath resisted everything hurled at him: outswingers, inswingers, bouncers, leg breaks, sliders, sledges, official warning from the umpire for repeatedly pulling out of strike, his team-mates' self-destructive ways, and his opponent's determined resolve. They couldn't out him at all but Rajasthan found a way around him to achieve their dream.

There was nothing in the pitch but the seamers created venom in the air to do the job. The 18-year old Chahar, playing his debut season, swung the ball both ways, Pankaj mixed his outswingers with the nip-backers, the balding Mathur punctuated his probing line around off stump with bouncers and Yadav flung in his quickish legbreaks and sliders to hustle Tamil Nadu.

It was a fascinating day's play. You could feel the pressure Tamil Nadu were under, and you could sense the intense desire and ambition of their opponents. Badrinath v Rajasthan was a riveting battle. Like yesterday, the bowlers complained to the umpires that Badrinath was not ready when they were ready to bowl. Like yesterday, the umpires chastened Badrinath. "The moment the bowler turns around, you have to be ready," Hariharan told Badrinath. "This is the last friendly warning." A visibly agitated Pankaj had a few words to say. Badrinath moved away again a short while later, as Mathur released the ball, and was handed his official warning. The heat was truly on. If it affected him, Badrinath didn't show it and knuckled down further but he was let down by his team-mates.

R Sathish, who had come in after the overnight batsman K Vasudevadas had inside-edged an outswinger on to his stumps, did all the hard work before throwing his wicket away. Chahar had him in a tangle- the big inswingers repeatedly rapped him on the pad and the outswingers kept teasing the outside edge- but Sathish fought on grittily. Every time he was beaten, he looked at Badrinath and flashed a smile. The pair saw through the first session but the self-destruction set in the second. Sathish went for a flamboyant on-the-up drive off Mathur but hit it straight to short extra cover to leave Tamil Nadu wobbling at 283 for 5.

It was in these kind of big moments that Tamil Nadu have choked in the past and more brain freeze was in store today. C Ganapathy, promoted ahead of Suresh Kumar, was peppered by bouncers from Mathur and threw his wicket away by pulling one straight to deep square-leg. Suresh Kumar hung around for a while and the pressure started to tell on everyone. When the score was 312, Badrinath charged down the track to Yadav and failed to connect but Rohit Jhalani fluffed a simple stumping. Yadav, though, kept chugging along and soon trapped Suresh Kumar lbw with a slider on the off stump line.

Enter L Balaji. He stuck adhesively to the crease for 76 minutes and was dropped on 14 by Jhalani but failed to connect with a sweep and fell lbw to Yadav. The No.10, R Suthesh, combusted spontaneously on arrival: He tried to slog Yadav and miscued it to mid-on and S Sam got into a mix-up with Badrinath and was run out by a direct hit by Robin Bist from deep midwicket to trigger celebrations in the Rajasthan camp. Badrinath trudged back in disappointment.

Rajasthan rubbed the salt into wounds by making Tamil Nadu follow-on and an over later it was all over. History was calling and the desert boys were all ears. Rajasthan now face Baroda in a final that not many would have predicted. It's been that kind of a season.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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  • Dummy4 on January 7, 2011, 18:23 GMT

    @govisri It is a highly acceptable statement that you made...how can vijay and mukund get a chance ahead of mukund is still a kid and he needs to grow am sure he is a fully finished product for international cricket...vijay has been the man of inconsistency in t20's and ODIs but he has delivered his best weneva he had a chance to play in tests...But if we look at badrinath no one in the domestic circuit deserves a chance ahead of him raina, rohit and yuvi are highly reckless and irresponsible cricketers who cannot shine in tests it might take some time for them...badrinath has always been fitter and his patience and will stay long has proved great success for him...i wonder how can the selection comt. think of pujara all of a sudden ...considering the fact that badrinath has performed well against RSA in india he should have been given a chance...Srikanth is absolutely blind wat else can i say...its jus killing me when i think of this fact...!!!


  • johnny on January 7, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Following on from my earlier post, Bhadri's case is an extremely strange one. His figures make a compelling case for an extended run at test level and with Srikanth at the helm of selection one would think that Bhadri would be granted the opportunity. However, it seems like Bhadri is somehow not a favourite of Srikanth's and perhaps out of favour with the rest of the selectors. Maybe it has to do with the way he openly challenged the selectors to "give him a chance to fail" - the selectors did exactly that...dropped him at the first opportunity!!!

  • johnny on January 7, 2011, 14:39 GMT

    Congrats to Rajasthan - I hope they will do it in the final. As for Bhadrinath - I think the Indian selectors discarded him too early...Bhadri did not get a fair go. Bhadri has played 3 innings at test level and has 1 half century to show for it. He did struggle against Steyn but who hasn't. Bhadri is a fighter in the Laxman mould and if he is not given a chnace now then it will be too late - a really sad story for a guy who averages 60+ at first class level but never given an extended run at test level. Indian selectors need to look at succession planning or we will end up like W.I & Aus! DRAVID has been an all time great for India BUT THE TIME TO REPLACE DRAVID WITH BHADRI IS NOW!!!

  • Samar on January 7, 2011, 10:03 GMT

    Badrinath definitely deserves to be in the Test side b4 raina and yuvi....he is a matured and experienced player and could play for some 5-6 years...he is just 30 ...He should be given fair bit of chance..

  • Dummy4 on January 7, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    Super Effort From Rajasthan...Pankaj nad Young Chahar will be playing for India soon. Badri played his best mind game as all chennai ppl do at least he wasted 20% of energy of Rajasthan's bowlers by moving away from crease when they were about to deliver the ball. But at last who is hard working and fair,wins. Already Chika has appointed so many his relatives in Indian team..and Tamilnadu ppl are wanting Badri 'be-imaan' in Indian team...Shame on you Tamilians..thooo...Poda...Hail Rajsthan for their super efforts... Jai Rajasthan. Mharo Rangilo Rajasthan..

  • James on January 7, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    Srikanth may have something against Badrinath, otherwise how could he be ignored, when the undeserving TN guys like Dinesh Karthik and Vijay- even Ashwin get the chances at the highest level- several times. Time to sideline the ineffectives like Vijay and give more chances to proven performers at the domestic level like Pujara, Rahane and Badrinath. Raina unfortunately needs to be part of the set up for the ODIs at least in the subcontinent.

  • Rajesh Kumar on January 7, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    what is preventing chika and guys in selecting badri into national team?.if age is alone a problem then y do you select lax,dravid ,st..you must only look at talents not at age..even 4 years before badri was in good form and he is maitaining this for years..give him a chance guys.he will certainly prove himself..dont forget the brilliant fifty by him on his debut when rest of the guys failed to score on that match

  • prasanth on January 7, 2011, 9:08 GMT

    Badri, not matter what the place you get in Indian team..but if you happen to see this comment. I want to say you have won place in my heart...and its the same thing earns you being in indiam team...lot of people recoginze your efforts and applaude..kudos for entertaining for many years..

  • Ankit on January 7, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    Neutral venues are not really a good thing because the select few like me who would go to the ground for a ranji semi/final would miss out and with due respect I wouldnt want to see a match not featuring Mumbai, follow it online or on tv sure but not at the stadium......and yes these matches should be 5 days.

  • Sri on January 7, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    It was a superlative effort by Badri. 922 runs @ an average of 131.7! What more he needs to do to get into the test xi?He has been consistentthroughout the last decade or so. He did decently well against RSA in the tests,when others were having trouble outting bat to ball from Steyn. Raina playing test cricket is a joke:) Pujara and Badri should be looked at ahead of the rohits,rainas and yuvis for tests.Fail to fathom how vijay and mukund gets a look-in ahead of badri.Rahane is another who should be considered for the longer version.someone being flamboyant in T20s doesnt mean they are good for test cricket.

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