The final of the Coca Cola Trophy South Zone (under-25) tournament between Kerala and Tamil Nadu is poised for an interesting finish. At stumps on the second day of their match at the Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar Sports Complex in Bangalore on Sunday, Tamil Nadu were 122 for three in reply to Kerala's first innings total of 323. The first innings is almost certain to decide the winners of the trophy and Tamil Nadu still need 202 runs but have seven wickets to pursue glory.
Actually, Tamil Nadu's closing score represents a recovery. For they were in a shaky position at 25 for two. Opener Ravindra John (2) was dismissed at 12 and then one drop S Lakshmi Kumar was out for five at 25.
The other opener KN Riaz and N Lokesh initiated the recovery process by adding 61 runs for the third wicket off 17.2 overs. After Riaz was out for 31, compiled off 72 balls with four hits to the ropes, Lokesh and Subash Raj (20) continued the good work by increasing the score by 36 runs off 18.2 overs during an unbroken fourth wicket partnership. Just before close, Lokesh reached a well compiled 50. He has so far faced 113 balls and hit seven fours.
Earlier, resuming at 208 for six, Kerala did well to add another 115 runs. Chiefly this was because of a seventh wicket partnership of 77 runs off 23 overs between CM Shyam and R Menon. While the former scored 44 off 156 balls and hit five fours, the more aggressive Menon faced only 74 balls for his 41, hitting six fours in the process. Menon was seventh out at 285 but Shyam played the anchor role and kept the innings going till he was ninth out at 312. He came in to bat midway through the 84th over and was out after batting a trifle over three hours in the 134th over.