Pankaj Singh rocks Tamil Nadu early

Pankaj SinghPankaj Singh took four wickets to rock the Tamil Nadu top order (IE Photo)

Rajasthan pacer Pankaj Singh claimed four wickets to wreak havoc on Tamil Nadu top order before Ramaswamy Prasanna (56) and Vijay Shankar (57) played the rescued act as the hosts managed to end the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Group B match at 231 for 5 in Chennai on Sunday.

Electing to bat, Tamil Nadu started off cautiously but lost opener Arun Karthik (4) in the fifth over with seven runs on board. Pankaj forced Karthik to play in front and the batsman edged the delivery to wicketkeeper Chetan Bist.

Abhinav Mukund, a centurion in their earlier match against Baroda at the same venue, and Subramaniam Badrinath tried to stabilise Tamil Nadu innings. Their approach to avoiding taking risks but going after loose deliveries was paying off and they put on 75 runs for the second wicket.

At this stage, Rajasthan captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar's shrewd move to bring in off-spinner Romesh Powar provided the vital breakthrough on a turning track. Experienced Powar lured the batsmen to go for shots against top-spin bowling.

Powar scalped Mukund LBW as he was tried to play a defensive stroke. Mukund made 26 off 83 balls and put on 75 runs with Badrinath in 24.1 overs.

Then, it was Pankaj Singh, who was bowling dangerously and most often he beat the batsmen. His decision to hit the good length spots resulted in his dismissing two batsmen in the form of Baba Aparajith (8) and Dinesh Karthik (0) in consecutive deliveries.

Pankaj then clean-bowled Badrinath two overs later. Badrinath, who was shaping up well, scored 50 off 102 balls, hitting seven fours.

Prasanna (batting 56 off 133 balls, 8x4), who has in the past bailed out Tamil Nadu, and Vijay Shankar (batting 57 off 130 balls, 8x4), then put on 132 runs in 40.3 overs for the unbroken sixth wicket when the stumps were drawn 11 minutes before schedule close due to bad light.

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