Sensible batting by the top-order on the opening day put Tamil Nadu in control against Karnataka in the Group B Ranji Trophy tie at MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Friday.
Opting to bat, TN got off to an excellent start with openers Abhinav Mukund and KB Arun Karthick forging a good partnership. Later Baba Aparajith (85 batting) and S Badrinath (61 batting) continued in the same vein to take the L Balaji-led side to a comfortable 260 for 2 at stumps.
Abhinav and Karthick played with lot of understanding and saw through Karnataka’s experienced new ball pair of Vinay Kumar and Abimanyu Mithun with panache.
Abhinav was solid and looked in control. Karthick, who came in for Murali Vijay looked rusty but played a perfect foil to Abhinav. The duo played on the merit of the ball. Their approach was simple— not to chase every ball and play to their strength. This approach paid dividends as the scoreboard started to tick at at a steady pace.
Vinay and Mithun bowled in the corridor but the TN batsmen negotiated them well. Vinay and Mithun failed to get the ball to do that ‘extra’ bit to surprise the openers and did not get any purchase from the pitch.
Stuart Binny erred in length and both Abhinav and Arun were harsh on him. “I am happy with our boys show. It is the right start that we were looking for and the youngsters put up a brilliant show,’’ was Balaji’s reaction after the day’s play.
After the openers had raised 106 for the first wicket, Karthick (50) was deceived by change of pace and fell leg before to Ganesh Satish.
After lunch, Abhinav too lost concentration and fell to offie Sunil Raju with Gautham behind the stumps making no mistake of the prize offering.
Karnataka bowlers were luckless with Aparajith and Badrinath capitalising on the strong foundation laid by the openers.
Aparajith, promoted to one drop did not disappoint his captain and came out with a splendid display.
Playing only in his second season in Ranji, the India Under-19 World Cup-winning player showed lot of maturity and complemented Badrinath well. At one time, Aparajith and Badrinath were neck and neck before reaching fifty but Aparajith raced past Badri and was closing on his hundred when play ended.
Aparajith’s square drive off Arun Kumar where the ball raced past the close in fielders to the fence was the result of perfect timing backed by right footwork.
“Aparajith’s effort was the highlight of the day. His effort was splendid and I hope he continues in the same vein on Saturday and takes his game to the next level,’’ Balaji said.