Remember Murphy 's Law that said "Don't believe in miracles, rely on them"? South Zone skipper Subramaniam Badrinath would have remembered that line as he came on to bat on Thursday. The Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground (MSCG) has always been lucky for the Tamil Nadu batsman and Thursday was no exception. He scored a brilliant double hundred and stitched together a 312-run third-wicket partnership with Rahul Dravid (138) to take South Zone to a formidable 442 for 6 at the end of the first day of their Duleep semifinal at Rajkot.
Electing to bat first, South slipped into a temporary paralysis after their openers, Abhinav Mukund (10) and Robin Uthappa (1), fell cheaply. But the wickets proved to be a blessing in disguise as Dravid and Badrinath showed immense presence of mind to bail the team out of a possible batting collapse. Badrinath justified being handed the reins in this match, never for a second wilting under pressure. He hooked, pulled and cut the bowlers mercilessly. The dexterity of his strokeplay, however, failed to dim Dravid who also took the attack to the bowlers, shedding his usually vigilant approach.
The biggest disappointment of the day was Haryana leg-spinner Amit Mishra. On top of being treated with disdain by the two batsmen Mishra sent down 15 no-balls in the course of racking up the miserable figures of 2 for 149 from 26 overs. Skipper Aakash Chopra inexplicably pressed on with Mishra even after Badrinath launched three consecutive sixes in a 22-run 57th over.
But Mishra didn't allow the glut of boundaries to get to him.
He castled Dravid with a gem of a delivery that had the perfect legspinner's dip and trajectory and then sent back Dinesh Karthik for four in the 63rd over.
But the distraction did not last long and Badrinath once again wielded the battle axe. He raced to his double hundred with a four off MS Gony and ain a rare lapse in concentration nicked the next delivery to keeper Uday Kaul. But Badri won't mind too much as he had done the job by then with 348 already on the board.