Group B, Mumbai, October 15 - 18, 2015, Ranji Trophy
434 & 95
(T:236) 294 & 236/9

Mumbai won by 1 wicket

Player Of The Match
5/122 & 7/53

Dinesh Karthik 167 deflates Mumbai

Dinesh Karthik struck 167 to propel Tamil Nadu into a dominant position against Mumbai in the third round of the Ranji Trophy

Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Mumbai 45 for 2 trail Tamil Nadu 434 (Karthik 167, B Aparajith 62, Rangarajan 61, Dabholkar 5-122)
In an endeavour to improve his technique and earn an India call back, Dinesh Karthik spent weeks in Mumbai last year, working at the MCA's Bandra-Kurla Complex facility with personal coach Praveen Amre. At the same ground, Karthik turned out to be the difference between Mumbai and Tamil Nadu in a Ranji Trophy league game.
When Karthik is on song, the best of bowling attacks can appear hapless. It was the turn of Mumbai to bear the brunt as his 167 meant Tamil Nadu recovered from 201 for 6 to pile up 434 in their first innings and give the visitors a good chance of snatching the lead. Tamil Nadu'a pacers then built on the good work, seeing off two Mumbai batsmen, including the prized wicket of Shreyas Iyer, to further the cause.
His unbeaten 76 on the opening day was about controlled aggression; a necessary tactic considering Tamil Nadu had been in danger of collapsing. The 91 runs he added today were split into two halves - being patient and then cutting loose.
Mumbai had a very hard day. The BKC track not offering much assistance and the soaring heat did no favous either. They didn't have much going by way of luck either. Karthik, having seen off the first hour of the morning session, survived a close leg-before shout off Shardul Thakur in the nineties. Earlier in the day, a huge appeal for caught behind off Dhawal Kulkarni against Malolan Rangarajan had been turned down as well. The two batsmen put on 182 runs for the seventh wicket.
Karthik got his 11th four, which also brought up his 24th first-class ton, there were no more half-chances. By then, the fast bowlers had begun losing their zip and when spin was called in, Karthik simply swept them aside. Literally. Whenever left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar or legspinner Abhishek Raut or part-timer Siddhesh Lad pitched it slightly fuller, Karthik bent down in no time and the connection was sweet. When the pace duo of Thakur and Kulkarni pitched it short, the pull shot yielded optimum results.
The mammoth stand came to an end soon after lunch when Aditya Tare took a sharp, one-handed catch behind the wicket off Thakur to end Rangarajan's vigil for 61 off 150 balls. Three overs later, Karthik was undone by a sweep to give Dabholkar a deserving five-for. Aswin Crist and M Mohammed frustrated Mumbai bowlers for an hour, but Kulkarni took two in two in the 145th over to wrap up the innings. And from then on and until the end of the day's play, bowlers dictated the proceedings.
Tamil Nadu's pacers bowled a nagging line. Even though Crist started off by bowling two full-tosses in the opening over, the second of which was creamed for a four by Shrideep Mangela, Mohammed bowled five maidens on the trot from the other end. Reward for that discipline came in Mohammed's second spell when he had Akhil Herwadkar caught behind, although replays were inconclusive. There didn't appear to be any sound of bat hitting ball as it passed.
Iyer counterattacked with a sparkling cover drive, a trademark flick through midwicket and an aerial flick that sailed over long leg but with just over ten minutes remaining for the scheduled close, his uppish drive was brilliantly caught by medium-pacer J Kousik to make it a perfect day for Tamil Nadu.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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