Tamil Nadu will look to bounce back strongly after a draw against Andhra Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy Group “C” opener, when it takes on Tripura in the second game, beginning at the M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.
The fancied Tamil Nadu side came out second best in a drawn game with the much-vaunted batting line-up not firing in the first innings. A determined ton by B Sumanth helped Andhra take the first innings lead and three points after being 64 for 5 at one stage.
Though the home side’s batsmen made amends in the second innings, Andhra came close to chasing down the target after a declaration.
Ashwin was made to work hard for his wickets and he would like to step up against Tripura, which doesn’t boast of any big names. Vijay after an injury scare, was his fluent self on the final day with a half-century. He would be keen to get among the runs in the lead-up to the Test series against the visiting Sri Lankans.
Tamil Nadu coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar has emphasised on the need to seize key moments and having to take it session by session. Now the onus would be on the team to step up against a light-weight opposition.
Tamil Nadu captain Abhinav Mukund, who found form with 95 in the second innings, told reporters ahead of the game that the batsmen had to take responsibility and get a good score.
“We didn’t bat well in the first innings, it was a big talking point in our team meetings. As batsmen we need to take responsibility and put a good total on the board to give a chance to the bowlers to defend it,” Mukund said.
He also said the experienced Dinesh Karthik, who was part of the India team in the T20 series against Australia, would be available for selection for the Tripura game.
Mukund also said he had full faith in the bowling attack despite the tough time they had against Andhra. The skipper said that they weren’t taking Tripura lightly and hoped to play its best.
“I don’t take any team lightly. They have got a couple of good pros.. Yashpal Singh is a seasoned player. TN would be missing the services of Baba Aparajith, who has been picked for the India “A” team for the ODIs against New Zealand. He had a good outing against Andhra, scoring a half-century and a ton.
All-rounder J Kousik would come in as his replacement.
Tripura captain Manisankar Mura Singh said the team was looking forward to playing a strong team like Tamil Nadu.
“It is good to play against a big team. We have been discussing their strengths and weaknesses. We have some experienced players. It will be important to put up a big score in the first innings as it will put them under pressure,” he said.
Teams (from): Tamil Nadu: Abhinav Mukund (captain), Baba Indrajith (vice-captain), Murali Vijay, M Kaushik Gandhi, Dinesh Karthik, N Jagadeesan (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, M S Washington Sundar, L Vignesh, K Vignesh, Rahil Shah, R Sai Kishore, Malolan Rangarajan, V Lakshman, R Rohit (WK), J Kousik.
Tripura: Manisankar Mura Singh (captain), Udiyan Bose (vice-captain), Bishal Ghosh, Samrat Sinha, Abhijet Dey, Yashpal Singh, Smit Patel (WK), Joydeep Banik, Rana Datta, Abhijit Sarkar, Gurinder Singh, Joydeep Bhattacharjee, Dwaipayan Bhattacharjee.