Tamil Nadu’s 150 for two against Railways’ 327 on the second day is a decent start, but the “hard application required on this track”, in the words of Murali Vijay, could still make this an even contest.
However, despite Vijay’s concerns, the Tamil Nadu innings went at a faster rate (over three runs an over) than that of the hosts, who scored at less than 2.5 and at this rate, if they don’t lose too many wickets, the visitors should overhaul the target well before the end of Thursday’s play. The Railways bowlers haven’t looked threatening and barring a few, they even failed to stem the run rate.
When they were looking to apply the brakes shortly before close, S Badrinath (batting 33) cut loose and clobbered skipper Murali Kartik for two straight sixes and a boundary. Vijay (batting 65) too joined him and the pressure was back on Railways after they’d got rid of the dangerous-looking K.B. Arun Karthik (47) and throttled Badrinath’s scoring rate.
That, in fact, was the story of the day. Railways tried hard to seize the initiative and every time they got an opportunity, Tamil Nadu denied them.
The hosts began well and moved to 275 for 4 from the overnight 242 for 4, but two wickets off successive balls spoiled the start. Sanjay Bangar played the lone ranger in a gritty effort but every time he looked for support, his partners disappointed. He scored 163, almost half his team’s score.
The team folded just after lunch when, again, two wickets fell off consecutive balls. Abhinav Mukund was dismissed for a duck in the first over. Arun Karthik and Vijay took their time, playing straight, and once in, went for the boundaries.