Ranji Trophy 2018-19, Elite Group B: Manpreet picks up five for Punjab as Tamil Nadu stutter

MOHALI: Allrounder Vijay Shankar stood tall among the ruins with a knock of 71 as Tamil Nadu struggled to 213 for 9 against Punjab on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match Friday.

Sent in to bat by the host, the Tamil Nadu openers were given a stern test by pacers Manpreet Singh Grewal, Sandeep Sharma and Baltej Singh, who made good use of the conditions. Grewal bowled superbly to finish with figures of 5 for 56 to leave the visiting side in danger of being bowled out for a below-par total. He made use of the favourable conditions to trouble most of the batsmen and was rewarded with wickets.

Left-hander Abhinav Mukund had a harrowing time at the crease before edging one to wicketkeeper Abhishek Gupta for 5 (31 balls). N Jagadeesan, pushed up to open the innings as M Kaushik Gandhi was dropped, tried to hit his way out of trouble, but was trapped LBW by Baltej for 19 (42 balls) in the 15th over, to leave Tamil Nadu tottering at 31 for 3.

Baltej struck two balls later, castling the in-form TN captain Baba Indrajith for duck, sending the stumps flying. The experienced Dinesh Karthik (26) joined Baba Aparajith in the middle and the two looked to repair the damage. They did succeed in their attempt to a certain extent before Karthik was castled by Baltej.

With the score on 111, Aparajith was unlucky to see a defensive shot bounce back and roll on to the stumps even as he looked on. Shankar, who shone for India ‘A’ in the recent series in New Zealand, played confidently and ran judiciously. He also played several handsome shots on both sides of the wicket and hit seven fours.

Vijay Shankar and the young M Shahrukh Khan (19) put on 44 runs before M Mohammed (27) helped the former add 58 important runs for the eighth wicket. Manpreet Grewal stunned Tamil Nadu with three quick blows in the 82nd and 84th overs, dismissing Shankar, Mohammed and K Vignesh (0).

Grewal’s strikes reduced the visitors to 213 for 9 after appearing to have recovered from the early losses.

Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 213 for 9 in 84 overs (Vijay Shankar 71, M Mohammed 27, Dinesh Karthik 26, Manpreet Singh Grewal 5 for 56) vs Punjab.