1st day Mumbai 20 for 0 (Kukreja 17*, Jaffer 3*) trail Tamil Nadu 206 (Karthik 76, Srinivasan 66*, Powar 4-55, Salvi 2-43) by 186 runs
A committed effort in the field and Ramesh Powar's bowling helped Mumbai bundle out Tamil Nadu for 206 on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy match at the Guru Nanak College Ground in Chennai. Powar finished with figures of 4 for 55 as the Tamil Nadu batsmen faltered on a two-paced pitch, with Dinesh Karthik and R Srinivasan the only two to score half-centuries.
The bright, sunny weather presented ideal conditions for batting and the home side sent out a strong signal by deploying Karthik, the lone international in their line-up, as an opener alongside M Vijay. The first hour belonged to the home team as Karthik and Vijay added 47, taking advantage of the fact that Mumbai's opening bowlers Ajit Agarkar and Aavishkar Salvi didn't bowl flat out at the start. Karthik drove Salvi elegantly through the covers and followed it up with a pull off a half-tracker from Agarkar.
However, a mix-up between the openers saw Vijay run out before the drinks break; Powar's athletic interception of a flick resulted in a mid-pitch mix-up between the batsmen. The other side of the break saw R Prasanna trapped in front by Salvi. The right-arm bowler then went on to get the vital wicket of S Badrinath, who chopped a ball that kept low on to the stumps.
When Abhishek Nayar dismissed K Vasudevadas, Tamil Nadu were struggling at 62 for 4, following which Karthik and Srinivasan settled down to consolidate the innings. Karthik was more dominant, pulling and driving with ease on both sides of the wicket as he brought up his half-century with an uppish, yet firm, scoop past mid-on. A six over midwicket off Powar followed soon.
Powar got his revenge when Karthik was given out leg-before - a decision he didn't seem best pleased with - while sweeping across the line. At 119 for 5, it was up to Srinivasan to shepherd the lower order and the urgency to pick up the pace was evident as R Ashwin rotated the strike regularly in his brisk innings of 19. Srinivasan oozed confidence with an effortless cover drive off Agarkar as Tamil Nadu set about another recovery.
They were stifled, though, by the use of the spinners, Powar and Iqbal Abdulla, in tandem. Powar worked on the simple principle of slow flight to deceive the batsmen. Sensing them trying to loft over the infield, Powar cut down on pace and the batsmen failed to read the length early on, falling to tame strokes. Srinivasan, after a tentative start against the same bowler, was the only batsman who looked comfortable after tea, pushing the singles, rotating the strike and putting away the odd ball to the boundary. Agarkar wrapped up the innings in style, sending P Amarnath's middle stump reeling, and Tamil Nadu ended on a disappointing 206.
Mumbai's openers, Wasim Jaffer and Sahil Kukreja, survived a few close shouts for leg-before as they played out the remaining overs.
Reflecting on the day's play, Badrinath admitted that the batsmen should have applied themselves better. "On this pitch, 206 wasn't enough at all," he told Cricinfo. "The pitch was two-paced but we should have come up with a better performance."
Kanishkaa Balachandran is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo