B Indrajith, the Tamil Nadu batsman, has come out in defence of his team following two incidents that involved their batsmen running on the danger area. In the 66th over of the day, Dinesh Karthik received a warning for running on the pitch, but the next transgression, featuring Vijay Shankar, eight overs later resulted in umpire Virender Sharma slapping a five-run penalty on Tamil Nadu.
Indrajith maintained it was unintentional, and that there was no attempt to gain any undue advantage. "We weren't running intentionally, and even the ball where the five-run penalty was imposed he [Shankar] played the reverse sweep and he was running normally," he said. "Even on a day-one pitch, we would run like this; just because it's a day-four pitch we can't run differently.
"As batsmen, we take one step forward and move away. But, it's a crucial game, and it's day four, we are putting pressure on them, so the umpires thought we were intentionally doing it, but we didn't. He [Aditya Tare] was mentioning us and telling the umpires we were intentionally running on the pitch and that he wasn't addressing it. The umpires said to him 'you don't have to interfere; we will take care of things.'"
Chandrakant Pandit, the Mumbai coach, played down the incident, but didn't rule out a strategic angle to it. "Naturally tactics are there. And, any team probably would try and do that," he said. "It is within the rules, and umpires are there and umpires will be able to monitor, which they were doing. Naturally we can't keep focusing on what is happening there rather than batting tomorrow."
After arguing his case on the pitch incident, Indrajith took a dig at Mumbai for time-wasting tactics. After accounting for stoppages,Mumbai were two overs short when Tamil Nadu declared their second innings shortly before stumps.
"Actually, we had a meeting in the morning and the coach said it would be nice if we could get 250 runs and put pressure on them," Indrajith said. That's exactly what happened," he said. "We could have got more runs for the overs we played, but as you all can see, they wantedly wasted time and bowled about five overs short. Later on, we got instructions to bat till 4.30."
In the morning, Indrajith, who is the fourth-highest run-getter (697) for Tamil Nadu this season, didn't know he was going to bat at No.3, until five overs before opener Ganga Sridhar Raju was dismissed. Having made three fifties in his last five innings, Indrajith was satisfied he could finally convert one of those into a hundred.
"The coach told me to start off normally and then play my normal game," he said. "It is an important knock for me not just because it's a televised game; it's just the situation of the game - we were 100 runs behind. We needed some runs on the board to put pressure on them. I am happy I have contributed to the team. I have missed out on 60s in four innings, and I am happy I converted the 60s."
Indrajith talked up his team's chances on a pitch he said would have inconsistent bounce on the final day. "If you see a lot of balls kept low as the day's progressing," he said. "There are a lot of cracks on the pitch and are widening a little bit, and the rough has widened up a little bit more.
It was on this [pavillion] end but now it is creating on the other end too. In this innings, the spinners - Aushik [Srinivas] and Aparajith - will come into play. It is a pressure game - they took the 100 runs lead, they have to be under pressure. In a pressure game, anything can happen."