First-class cricket is completely different from limited overs cricket. It doesn’t matter if you have good technique, it’s all about mental adjustments. On Wednesday, Tamil Nadu was cruising when the Baba brothers – Aparajith (57) and Indrajith (71) were nearby.
The duo scored 86 runs for the third wicket to nearly four runs per over. Just when they should have tightened their grip on the match, they were reeled in by short-pitch bowling from Harshit Rana (3/73).
The discharge methods were quite similar. Both were driven to indecision. Whether they should play or leave it, they ended up mistaking the pull shot and getting caught on the short center of the wicket.
Tamil Nadu skipper Baba Indrajith, who has been a prolific scorer for his team in recent seasons, accepted that he was annoyed by his manner of dismissal and three wickets in the final session opened the match.
“It was very frustrating. Leaving early is okay, it makes sense, but after you finished and the team needed you, today was perhaps the best chance to score a hundred as well,” Indrajith said.
Harshit Rana, who played only his second first-class match, led the Delhi attack and he was headstrong in his first spell, conceding 40 runs in eight overs. After the tea session, he came back strong and tirelessly bowled the bouncers with a solid pitch.
The Baba brothers’ wickets were a perfect execution of the plan, but the way he harassed Washington Sundar with his bouncers was exceptional. Rana continued digging and Sundar looked around. Rana finally had the last laugh and choked Sundar on the leg side while Anju Rawat made a brilliant dive catch to pull Delhi back into the game.
“The plan was to take wickets. They took the game from us. I was ready to admit few limits, I wanted them to play shots and wait for their mistakes,” said the 21-year-old after the game of the day.
“Even in the last game, our trick was to bowl short pitch with the old ball in the last session. I just tried to bowl according to my pitch and I got rewarded,” said Harshit.
Tamil Nadu was 214 for 5 on stumps on day 2.
The morning session also belonged to the hosts with Pranshu Vijayaran (58) scoring his first first-class fifty to take Delhi’s tally to 303 runs in the first innings. Pranshu’s rearguard knock was studded with five fours and three sixes.
The Delhi all-rounder attacked Tamil Nadu spinners Sai Kishore and Washington Sundar. The 57-run tie between Pranshu and Harshit, who also used his long handle efficiently, gave Delhi much-needed momentum.
“Yes, we gave 40 runs too many. In the morning I was forced to bowl with spinners because we were short on speed. We tried to push two and three fast overs from both sides. It was not the right thing to do, we should have kept a zoomer on one side,” Indrajith said.
Tamil Nadu got off to a daring start with in-form Sai Sudharsan (25) hitting six boundaries in no time before left arm naval Kuldip Yadav (1/50) got one to go and get a nick. Pranshu then got the dangerous N Jagadeesan (34) behind.
Tamil Nadu’s batters must regret throwing away their starts on a day that was perfect for batting. The game is balanced and the Tamil Nadu skipper said, “It can go either way.”
“Right now I’m not even thinking about an outright win and want to make sure the first innings lead first,” said Indrajith.
Tamil Nadu is still behind with 89 points. Vijay Shankar (17 not out) and Pradosh Ranjan Paul (3 not out) are on the crease.
Delhi 1st Innings: 303 in 97.1 overs (Dhruv Shorey 66, Jonty Sidhu 57, Pranshu Vijayaran 58, L Vignesh 4/50)
tamilnadu: 214/5 in 54 overs (Baba Indrajith 71, Baba Aparajith 57, Harshit Rana 3/73)