For once Tamil Nadu will be under pressure when they take on Maharashtra in the third round of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘B’ match to be played at MA Chidambaram Stadium, from Saturday.
Tamil Nadu with just two points from two outings are under immense pressure to deliver in the third round of the league phase. Although the team has got over the shock of conceding the lead to Karnataka after making 538, they are desperate to bag maximum points against Maharashtra.
But Maharashtra are no bunny after their splendid show against Uttar Pradesh in the previous round where they scored 764, with Kedar Jhadav making a triple century against an attack comprising the likes of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Sudeep Tyagi and leggie Piyush Chawla.
“Yes there is pressure, but we will definitely go for full points. We have moved over from the last game . It was a good batting display (against Karnataka). 538 runs was a good score. But we failed to restrict Karnataka,” said TN captain Laxmipathy Balaji.
“The boys (bowlers) would have learnt a lesson and would know to go about the job in future. We will be strengthening our attack, there will be a couple of changes keeping in mind the wicket and conditions,” he added.
There is every possibility of Aushik Shrinivas, the most experienced spinner being back in the squad. He may come in place of a batsman or M Aswin who was not up to the mark.
Yo Mahesh too may get the nod ahead of Mohammed, for he is more nippy and has vast experience in all the formats. The inclusion of all-rounder S Suresh Kumar could give another option, but the problem for the think-tank is whom to drop.
The return of Vijay has given Tamil Nadu’s batting good depth and his inclusion could at the cost of Arun Karthik or Prasanna; both of whom had scored half-centuries in the previous game.
It looks like Arun have to make the way for Vijay as Prasanna is good at batting lower down the order under pressure.
Maharashtra would wish that their openers click. They would depend heavily once again on triple centurion Jadhav to put a big score against TN. Atitkar, Bawne and Motwani will be the other batsmen to watch out for the TN spinners.
Toss is crucial as the team that wins will certainly bat first. The wicket (more of red soil) will offer a keen contest between the bat and the ball, with bowlers calling the shots.