Pacer Rahul Shukla’s brilliant five-wicket haul (5/29) and skipper Saurabh Tiwary’s unbeaten 41 has given Jharkhand a slight edge chasing 212 against Tamil Nadu on the third day of the final Ranji Trophy league match here at the Nehru Stadium on Saturday.
Jharkhand, which had conceded a 59-run first-innings lead, bowled out TN for just 152 in its second innings and ended the day on 102 for four with the match evenly poised on a challenging pitch for batting.
Earlier, TN resumed its second innings at 15 for two and Shukla struck in the first over removing R. Sai Kishore. B. Aparajith and B. Indrajith then came together for a 33-run stand in which the former was in full flow scoring four boundaries.
But just as he was looking good, Aparajith tried an expansive drive off left-arm pacer Sushant Mishra but only to edge it to the keeper.
The in-form Indrajith once again took charge of the innings with another responsible knock with yet another half-century.
He added 50-runs for the fifth wicket with N. Jagadeesan before the latter threw away his wicket by charging down to left-arm spinner Anukul Roy and got stumped.
After lunch, Shukla then had Indrajith caught at short-midwicket as the batter tried to go over the top on the leg-side but couldn’t clear the fielder.
Running out of partners, skipper Vijay Shankar tried his best to add quick runs before he was dismissed for 28 by Shukla caught at long-on becoming his fifth victim.
Jharkhand’s chase got off poorly when left-arm spinner Siddharth had Utkarsh Singh bowled with a quicker one.
Soon, the other opener Mohammed Nazim too was bowled to Sai Kishore, trying to play inside the line only to miss the delivery completely. Sai Kishore struck again before tea, removing Kumar Suraj leg-before with the score reading 31 for three.
After tea, Mohammed accounted for Shahbaz Nadeem as Jharkhand slumped to 49 for four before Tiwary and Kumar Kushagra came together.
The duo played watchfully with minimal risks, nudging it around and ensuring the team had no further setbacks adding 53-runs for an unbroken fifth-wicket stand.
The aggressive Tiwary, in particular, was subdued shunning his big shots and will need to make a big one to see his side home on Sunday.
Tamil Nadu (1st innings): 285
Jharkhand (1st innings): 226
Tamil Nadu (2nd innings): M. Kaushik Gandhi c Kushagra b Shukla 1, L. Suryapprakash c & b Shukla 2, B. Aparajith c Kushagra b Mishra 26, R. Sai Kishore c Anukul b Shukla 2, B. Indrajith c Nadeem b Shukla 52, N. Jagadeesan st Kushagra b Anukul 18, M. Shahrukh Khan lbw b Anukul 2, Vijay Shankar c sub b Shukla 28, M. Mohammed lbw b Nadeem 8, M. Siddharth c sub b Nadeem 0, Sandeep Warrier not out 0
Extras (b-8, lb-3, w-2): 13
Total (in 54.2 overs): 152
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-12, 3-15, 4-48, 5-98, 6-102, 7-135, 8-148, 9-148
Jharkhand Bowling: Shukla 12.2-2-29-5, Ashish 5-0-25-0, Nadeem 18-6-35-2, Anukul 11-2-29-2, Sushant 4-0-10-1, Utkarsh 4-0- 13-0
Jharkhand (2nd innings): Utkarsh Singh b Siddharth 7, Mohammed Nizam b Sai Kishore 8, Kumar Suraj lbw b Sai Kishore 7, Saurabh Tiwary batting 41, Shahbaz Nadeem c Sai Kishore b Mohammed 8, Kumar Kushagra batting 25
Extras (lb-5, w-1): 6
Total (for four wickets in 39 overs): 102
Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-16, 3-31, 4-49
Tamil Nadu Bowling: Warrier 8-2-21-0, Siddharth 5-0-17-1, Sai Kishore 11-1-25-2, Shahrukh 4-0-10-0, Mohammed 5-2-13-1, Aparajith 6-1 -11-0