When the Ranji season kicked off in the first week of November,two batsmen instantly grabbed the headlines. Two months down the line,in the final fortnight of the premier domestic competition,the duo have lived up to the early promise,building an intimidating reputation on the domestic circuit.
And it was Uttar Pradesh on the receiving end on Sunday as in-form Tamil Nadu openers Abhinav Mukund and Murali Vijay,whod scored a triple and a double ton respectively in very first league game,put together a 167-run partnership on the first day of the Ranji semi-final.
Though Vijay,because of his sudden elevation to the Test squad,happens to be more famous of the two,its been the 19-year-old Mukund who has played a bigger role in Tamil Nadus unbeaten run. On Sunday as well,the latter outscored the former as his innings of 100 helped Tamil Nadu seize the initiative after theyd won the toss and elected to bat.
The duo went about their job without taking any undue risks. Gradually they changed gears but constantly rotated the strike. While Mukund played most of his strokes on the off-side,Vijay concentrated on the V.
At stumps,they were 292/2 with S Badrinath (59 no) and Dinesh Karthik (58 no) building on the platform provided by the openers.
Some credit goes to the UP bowlers as well,as such was their ineffectiveness that the four TN batsmen on show on the day helped themselves to three half-centuries and a hundred.
For Mukund,it was the fourth time this season that he reached the three-figure mark. This has been a great season for me. Whenever I have crossed 20,I have scored a century. Besides,I have a great chemistry with Vijay and I hope that this continues, he later said.
Vijay,who scored 69 before holing out to Praveen Kumar off Parvinder,too had words of praise for his younger partner. The best part is that we play aggressively and know each others game well. If I miss something,he reminds me and vice versa, he said.