Kolkata: Tamil Nadu’s Vijay Shankar added a much-needed life into an otherwise boring batting display, with an unbeaten half-century on the opening day of their semifinal against Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament here today. Opting to bat on a dull Eden Gardens strip, Tamil Nadu’ star studded batting line-up scored at snail’s pace until Shankar hit some strokes en route to his 97-ball unbeaten 56, to end the day on 192 for three in 87 overs.
Giving Shankar support at the other end was his senior teammate Dinesh Karthik with an unbeaten 48 off 156 balls. The duo put together an unbeaten 102 runs from 207 balls. “It’s even-steven now. I’m happy with the way we bowled, we have to take early wickets tomorrow,” Maharashtra coach David Andrews said.
Given the docile conditions, the Tamil Nadu batsmen opted for a cautious approach and kept on consuming deliveries. India Test opener Murali Vijay took as many as 109 balls for his 28 before he finally lost his patience to edge an away going Dominic Joseph delivery to Maharashtra wicketkeeper and skipper Rohit Motwani in the post-lunch session. Vijay’s opening partner and Tamil Nadu captain Abhinav Mukund (23 from 79 balls) was a shade better but he also lost his patience in the process when he threw his wicket.
Maharashtra pace spearhead Samad Fallah came into the action when he dismissed Baba Aparajith who was the slowest among all, consuming 81 deliveries for his 20.
Maharashtra almost got another wicket in Karthik, who on nine, looked to have edged one behind the stumps but the appeal was turned down by the umpire in what appeared a dubious decision.
Tamil Nadu scored at less than a two run-rate in the morning and post-lunch session before Shankar — fresh from his 111 against Vidarbha in the quarterfinals — took the run-rate past two.
Tamil Nadu: 192 for 3 in 87 overs (Vijay Shankar batting 56, Dinesh Karthik batting 48) vs Maharashtra.