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Four-wkt. win for Tamil Nadu

By Our Sports Reporter

Bangalore Nov. 10. S. Sharath and J. Madanagopal helped Tamil Nadu open its Ranji Trophy campaign on a winning note. Tamil Nadu scored a four-wicket victory over Karnataka at the IAF Ground here on Monday and gained four points.

Chasing 260 for victory, the Tamil Nadu second innings found an ideal player on the fourth and final day in Sharath (57) and with Madanagopal (48 n.o.) playing the perfect foil, a well deserved triumph was etched in style. Minutes before the tea break, Ramkumar punched Sunil Joshi past covers for four to help the visitor post 261 for six in 101.3 overs.

Earlier, resuming at the overnight 81 for two, Tamil Nadu weathered the first one hour of play without alarms as the duo of S. Sriram (41) and Badrinath (21) pocketed quick singles while the Karnataka attack led by Venkatesh Prasad struggled in vain on a pitch that eased out on a sunny day.

The 48-run third-wicket partnership however terminated as Badrinath played back to off-spinner Udit Patel and found Barrington Rowland celebrating at short leg. The batsman stood his ground for sometime and walked in dismay and the tale was repeated again as Sriram played forward to Sunil Joshi, to be adjudged leg before.

A lunch score of 158 for four still left Tamil Nadu 102 runs adrift off the target. However the post lunch session paved the way for an emphatic victory as Sharath (57, 105b, 9x4), playing in his 77th Ranji match, exhibited skill that unnerved the host attack.

Sharath swatted Joshi and Udit over mid-wicket. Tamil Nadu's highest run-getter in Ranji history, was in vintage form and his partner Madanagopal (48 n.o., 95b, 4x4) was content with the tucked single on the on-side that helped him swap ends.

The host attack seemed bereft of ideas and excessive appealing hinted at a pent up frustration while Sharath and Madanagopal scripted an 88-run fifth-wicket partnership. Sharath's winning knock terminated as his attempt to late cut Joshi proved fatal but by then Tamil Nadu was well on course to victory.

The lone aberration was Ganesh Kumar's attempt to do an encore after pulling Udit for four. The ball only found Akhil positioned at deep square leg. However Madanagopal and Ramkumar survived a few tense moments as fielders crowded around the bat while spinners Joshi and Udit kept it tight. A few appeals did unnerve the batsmen but Ram Kumar hit the winning runs.

In their next set of matches, Tamil Nadu will clash against Rajasthan at Jaipur, while Karnataka will take on Bengal at Mandya from November 15 to 18.

The scores: Karnataka 208 and 235 lost to Tamil Nadu 184 and 261 for six (S. Sharath 57, Madanagopal 48 n.o., S. Sriram 41, S. Suresh 29, Udit Patel three for 56).

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