First-class cricket is totally different to limited-overs cricket. It doesn’t matter if you have a good technique, it is all about mental adjustments. On Wednesday, Tamil Nadu were cruising when Baba brothers – Aparajith (57) and Indrajith (71) were at the crease.
The duo put on 86 runs for the third wicket and it came at almost four runs per over. Just when they should have tightened their grip on the match, they were done in by short-pitch bowling of Harshit Rana (3/73).
The modes of dismissal were quite similar. Both were driven to indecision. Whether to play it or leave it they ended up miscuing the pull shot and were caught at short mid-wicket.
Tamil Nadu skipper Baba Indrajith, who has been a prolific scorer for his team in the last few seasons accepted he was annoyed with his mode of dismissal and three wickets in the last session opened up the game.
“It was very frustrating. To get out early is okay, it makes sense but after when you are set and the team needed you and today possibly was the best chance to score a hundred too,” rued Indrajith.
Harshit Rana, playing only his second first-class game was leading Delhi’s attack and he was wayward in his first spell, giving away 40 runs in eight overs. Post the tea session, he came back strongly and tirelessly bowled the bouncers with a set field.
The wickets of the Baba brothers were a perfect execution of the plan but the way he troubled Washington Sundar with his bouncers was exceptional. Rana continued to dig it in and Sundar looked all over the place. Rana finally had the last laugh and strangled Sundar down on the leg side, as Anju Rawat took a brilliant diving catch to pull Delhi back in the game.
“The plan was to take wickets. They were taking the game away from us. I was ready to concede few boundaries, I wanted them to play shots and was going to wait for their mistakes,” said the 21-year-old after the day’s play.
“Even in the last match, our ploy was to bowl short pitch in the last session with the old ball. I just tried to bowl as per my field and I got rewarded,” said Harshit.
Tamil Nadu were 214 for 5 at stumps on Day 2.
The morning session also belonged to the hosts with Pranshu Vijayaran (58) scoring his maiden first-class fifty and steering Delhi’s total to 303 runs in the first innings. Pranshu’s rearguard knock was studded with five fours and three sixes.
The Delhi-allrounder attacked Tamil Nadu spinners Sai Kishore and Washington Sundar. The 57-run stand between Pranshu and Harshit, who also used his long handle efficiently gave Delhi the much-needed momentum.
“Yes, we gave 40 runs too many. In the morning, I was forced to bowl with spinners as we were running short on over rate. We tried to push two and three quick overs from both ends. It was not the right thing to do, we should have kept a seamer from one end,” said Indrajith.
Tamil Nadu were off to a rollicking start with in-form Sai Sudharsan (25) hitting six boundaries in no time before left-arm seamer Kuldip Yadav (1/50) got one to move away, getting a nick. Pranshu then got the dangerous N Jagadeesan (34) caught behind.
The Tamil Nadu batters must be rueing the fact that they threw away their starts on a day, which was perfect for batting. The game is evenly-poised and the Tamil Nadu skipper said “it can go either way.”
“At this point, I am not even thinking about outright win and want to ensure first innings lead first,” Indrajith said.
Tamil Nadu are still trailing by 89 runs. Vijay Shankar (17 not out) and Pradosh Ranjan Paul (3 not out) are at the crease.
Delhi 1st Innings: 303 in 97.1 overs (Dhruv Shorey 66, Jonty Sidhu 57, Pranshu Vijayaran 58, L Vignesh 4/50)
Tamil Nadu: 214/5 in 54 overs (Baba Indrajith 71, Baba Aparajith 57, Harshit Rana 3/73)