Sai Sudarshan is a natural. The ease with which he plays at length, his balance, a steady head in both offense and defence, decisive footwork and the way he coaxes the ball through gaps shows off his superb qualities.
A left-handed batsman with all the right attributes, the 21-year-old Sudarshan scored a brilliant 179 on debut for Tamil Nadu against Andhra at Hyderabad on the second day of their Ranji Trophy duel. Here on Wednesday at the Ramakrishna College ground.
And Tamil Nadu were 273 for four in 77 overs batting, setting a platform for victory on the fourth day.
Earlier, the Tamil Nadu bowlers made short work of Andhra in the morning, with Bounce and Carey taking the last five wickets for 20 runs with the second new ball on the surface.
Intent and intensity are linked by a common thread – effort. The Coimbatore pitch helped in the morning – it has carry and seam movement – and the deceptively fast L Vignesh and Sandeep Warrier both bowled with rhythm and venom.
Once the bowlers hit the straps, the onus was on the home batsmen.
Opener Sudarshan played an important role. His teammate, in-form N. Jagadishan made some powerful strokes in 35 (37b, 5×4) before dismissing pacer KV Shashikant.
Then, Sudarshan and B Aparajith put on 163 runs in 286 balls for the second wicket; Great partnership, different strokes by different people.
While Sundar Sudarshan timed the ball from either side, sending fielders hunting for leather, Aparajith (88, 193b, 7×4, 2×6) produced some powerful hitting and worked hard between the wickets.
Sudarshan fell after being caught by Sheikh Rashid at mid-on off left-arm spinner Lalit Mohan.
Eventually, Aparajith was trapped at long-on by Lalit Mohan, regardless of his quick run and century.
There was also an injury concern for Andhra.
Flamboyant Warrior did B.A. Reflex catches by Ayyappa and Pradosh Ranjan Paul at short leg. A subsequent X-ray revealed a hairline fracture. Ayappa bowled just three overs before leaving the field.
Andhra – 1st innings: Abhishek Reddy c Sai Sudarshan b Warrier 85, UMS Girinath c Indrajit b Sai Kishore 3, Sheikh Rashid b Ajit 37, Hanuma Vihari c Ajit b Vijay Shankar 21, Ricky Bhui St. Jagadeesan b Sai Kishore 68, Karan Shinde c Jagadeesan b Vignesh 55, KV Shashikant lbw b Warrier 4, Natish Kumar Reddy c Jagadeesan b Vignesh 1, Shoaib MD Khan c Inderjit b Sai Kishore 18, B. Ayyappa c Pradosh b Warrier 0, Lalit Mohan (not out) 0; Extras (LB-1, NB-1, W-3): 5; Total (in 100.1 overs): 297.
Fall of wickets: 1-30, 2-125, 3-148, 4-153, 5-272, 6-277, 7-279, 8-279, 9-281.
Tamil Nadu bowling: Vignesh 14-2-46-2, Warrier 24-6-64-3, Sai Kishore 25.1-4-73-3, Washington 17-2-46-0, Ajit 14-2-41-1, Vijay Shankar 3- 1-7-1, undefeated 3-0-19-0.
Tamil Nadu – 1st innings: b Sai Sudarshan c Rashid b Lalit 113, N Jagadeesan c Girinath b Shashikant 35, b Aparajit c Nitish b Lalit 88, b Indrajit c Shoaib b Nitish 12, Washington Sundar (bat) 7, Vijay Shankar (bat) 0 ; Extras (B-5, LB-9, W-4): 18; Total (for four wickets in 77 overs): 273.
Fall of wickets: 1-65, 2-228, 3-254, 4-273.
Andhra bowling: Ayappa 3-0-13-0, Shashikant 18-1-70-1, Lalit 31-2-104-2, Nitish 13-2-33-1, Shoaib 12-2-39-0.