Rajasthan in Ranji final despite valiant effort from Badrinath
Jaipur: Subramanium Badrinath`s brilliant knock of an unbeaten 175 (605 minutes, 381 balls, 20x4) went in-vain as minnows Rajasthan created history by becoming the first team from Plate group to enter the final of the Ranji Trophy beating Tamil Nadu by virtue of first innings lead of 167 runs.
Rajasthan will now play Baroda in the final to be played at Vadodara from January 11-15.
After piling a mammoth 552 for seven, Rajasthan bowlers led by leggie Vivek Yadav (4/87) bowled out Tamil Nadu for 385.
As if to add insult to the injury, Rajasthan captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar asked visitors to follow-on and introduced Rashmi Ranjan Parida into the attack.
Rajasthan will play in the final for the first time in 36 years having last played the title round match way back in 1973-74 season.
Badrinath, whose epic vigil of 10 hours and five minutes will go down as one of the finest domestic innings ran out of partners as none of the other Tamil Nadu batsmen could even reach a target of 50.
It was a disciplined performance by the hosts who played with a plan and executed it perfectly.
Starting the day at 190 for three, Badrinath and K Vasudevdas (38) took the score 222 before the latter played onto a Pankaj Singh delivery.
Badrinath continued in his calm and composed manner and a push past gully brought up his 25th century in first-class cricket.
With Rajagopal Sathish (27, 69 balls, 5x4) for company Badrinath 61 for the fifth wicket. Sathish was however troubled by Sumit Mathur and Deepak Chahar. Chahar in particular bowled some beautiful inswingers.
It was a poor shot by Sathish that saw him caught at short cover by Yadav off Mathur`s bowling. Chandrasekhar Ganapathy (4) played a pull-shot and was holed out in deep by Ashok Menaria.
All this while Badrinath was fighting a grim battle to take team`s total to 465 which would have taken them past run-rate of Tamil Nadu.
However leggie Yadav struck two telling blows to dash Tamil Nadu`s hopes of going for an impressive victory.
First he trapped Suresh Kumar (20) leg-before as the ball hit his toe. Then it was L Balaji (19, 76 minutes) who stodgily defended before going for a slog sweep to be caught plumb off Yadav. R Suthesh and Sunil Sam didn`t trouble much.
In the end it was Badrinath who emerged as the tragic hero.
Brief Scores: Rajasthan 552/7 dec (A Chopra 139, H Kanitkar 100 no, A Menaria 106).
Tamil Nadu 385 (S Badrinath 175 no, V Yadav 4/87, P Singh 2/112, S Mathur 2/84). Raj won by 1st innings lead.