Ranji Trophy 2023-24: Sai Kishore, Ajith Ram spin Tamil Nadu to innings win over Railways

Spinners claimed fifteen wickets to help Tamil Nadu bowl out Railways for 246 and 114 and win by an innings and 129 runs on day three of the third-round Group-C match in the Ranji Trophy at the Sri Ramakrishna College of Arts and Science ground on Sunday.

Pratham Singh (92, 94b, 10×4, 4×6), the tall left-hander who was scoring at a quick rate, was the first wicket to fall on the day, playing a rash shot. He charged at pacer Sandeep Warrier only to nick behind to keeper N. Jagadeesan.

Nishant Kushwah (36, 95b, 5×4), the other well-set batter from overnight, nicked his square-cut off left-arm spinner Sai Kishore to the keeper.

Pratham and Nishant added 117 runs for the third-wicket partnership.

Railways then lost three wickets in 17 balls to be reduced from 218 for four to 220 for seven.

Left-arm spinner Ajith Ram, who’d been bowling from the near end, switched to bowl from the far end in the 64th over. And in his second over after the switch, he dismissed Railways skipper and wicketkeeper Upendra Yadav (21, 58b, 2×4, 1×6), caught and bowled.

The batter seemingly tried to tap the ball towards the mid-on region, probably for a single, but ended up with a leading edge.

Off-spinner S. Mohamed Ali struck twice in the same over. The 19-year-old debutant had left-hander Mohammad Saif nick behind a ball that had extra bounce. Two balls after Saif fell, Karn Sharma was bowled for a duck.

In the penultimate over before lunch, Yuvraj Singh was stumped by Jagadeesan off Sai Kishore. It was a classic left-arm spinner’s delivery – the ball spun just enough to beat the outside edge of the right-hander who was drawn forward just enough for the keeper to quickly whip the bails off.

At lunch, Railways had slumped to 236 for 8.

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After lunch, Sai Kishore claimed his third wicket (three for 72) when he had Sahab Yuvraj Singh caught by a diving Mohamed Ali at short extra cover. In the next over, Ajith Ram (two for 46) had Kunal Yadav caught by M. Mohammed at mid off.

Following on, Railways lost both its openers early. Nishant Kushwah, who batted at No. 4 in the first innings, was pushed up the order to open with Vivek Singh.

But the move didn’t work as Nishant nicked his drive off Warrier to the keeper. Soon after, Sai Kishore trapped Vivek plumb in front.

This was after he couldn’t take the half chance that Pratham offered when he was on 1. The batter went for his drive off Warrier but only managed to lob it as Sai Kishore dived forward and tried to catch with his right hand at mid off.

After tea, Mohammad Saif was bowled on the backfoot by Ajith Ram – the batter missed the ball as it went through. Keeper Lokeshwar, who briefly filled in for Jagadeesan, completed a flashlight stumping off Sai Kishore to dismiss Pratham. Immediately after the stumping, Jagadeesan took over as the keeper.

Upendra Yadav hit a straight six and missed his sweep to be bowled in back-to-back deliveries off Ajith Ram.

Ajith had Karn Sharma and Yuvraj Singh dismissed, caught and bowled, in the 41st over to finish with figures of four for 40.

Then, Sai Kishore had Akash Pandey caught by Mohamed Ali at short midwicket and Kunal Yadav by Sachin at gully to finish with figures of four for 43.

Railways opener Shivam Chaudhary was absent hurt with a back spasm.

Brief Scores:

Tamil Nadu – 1st innings: 489.

Railways – 1st innings: Total (in 79.4 overs): 246 (Pratham Singh 92, Nishant Kushwah 36, Warrier 3/61, Sai Kishore 3/72).

Railways – 2nd innings: Total (all out in 44 overs): 114. (Sai Kishore 4/43, Ajith Ram 4/40)

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