If Murali Vijay gets going at the top with Mukund, Tamil Nadu would be well served. (Source: File)
Andhra Pradesh bowlers restricted a formidable Tamil Nadu to a modest 176 on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Group “C” encounter at the M A Chidambaram Stadium.
Middle-order batsman Baba Aparajith was the top-scorer with a patient knock of 51, while the others capitulated in the face of disciplined bowling from the visitors on what seemed to be a good wicket.
Left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt took four wickets and was instrumental in putting the brakes on the home line-up, along with left-arm medium-pacer Prithvi Raj Yarra, who took three wickets.
The big guns in the Tamil Nadu line-up – M Vijay and skipper Abhinav Mukund failed to get going after the winning the toss and electing to bat.
Vijay, out of the India Test side since the series against Australia earlier this year, pottered around for 21 balls before slashing a ball from B Ayyappa to be caught forjust 4.
The left-handed Mukund followed a few deliveries later for 11 as Tamil Nadu lost two wickets at the score of 15.
M Kaushik Gandhi, who scored heavily in the previous season and Baba Indrajith added 26 runs in a confident manner before the latter became the first of Bhatt’s victims.
This was followed by a 32-run stand between Gandhi and Aparajith, which was broken by Shoaib Mohammed Khan.
Ravichandran Ashwin walked in at No. 6 with the team in a spot of bother at 73 for 4, but was castled by Ayyappa for 9 as Tamil Nadu slipped further.
With half the side gone for 88, the former Ranji champion had handed the advantage to the underdogs.
Aparajith and the talented young all-rounder M S Washington Sundar attempted some repair work but the promising partnership ended when the latter was dismissed by Prithvi Raj for 14.
Tamil Nadu then lost three wickets in the space of three runs as Bhatt captured two more wickets and looked in danger of being bowled out for less than 150.
Attacking wicketkeeper-batsman N Jagadeesan, who made a ton on debut last year, disappointed by falling for a duck.
Aparajith, who was waging a lonely battle, put on 26 runs with Rahil Shah, but his knock was ended by Bhatt.
The last wicket pair of Shah and K Vignesh added 36 important runs as the latter used the long-handle to good effect while making 25 inclusive of two fours and a six.
Bhatt finished with four for 52, while Prithvi Raja Yarra took 3 for 39 and Ayyappa scalped two wickets.
The Andhra openers D B Prashant Kumar and K S Bharat survived three overs, including two from Ashwin to end a good day at eight without loss.
Brief scores: Group “C” Tamil Nadu 176 all out (Baba Aparajith 51, K Vignesh 25 not out, Bhargav Bhatt 4 for 52, Prithvi Raj Yarra 3 for 39) vs Andhra Pradesh 8 for no loss in Chennai.
Madhya Pradesh 268 for 5 in 87.3 overs (Devendra Bundela 99, Shubam Sharma 88 batting, Harpreet Singh Bhatia 32, A Sheth 2 for 51) vs Baroda at Indore.
Tripura vs Odisha – Play on first day washed out at Cuttack.