New Delhi: Tamil Nadu opener Arun Karthik batted with resolve to score an unbeaten century even as Delhi walked away with three points by virtue of taking the first-innings lead in their Ranji Trophy Group B match, here on Tuesday.
Karthik struck a defiant 217-ball 121 not out, his fifth first-class hundred and the season`s first, while Subramaniam Badrinath (45 not out) also showed a lot of determination as both steered their side to a draw on the final day at the Feroze Shah Kotla Stadium.
Delhi have moved up to 11 points and third place on the table behind Odisha and Baroda, while Tamil Nadu are fourth on nine points.
Odisha`s second successive victory after upsetting Karnataka by 65 runs at home and Baroda`s thrilling one wicket win over Haryana in Lahli today have thrown open the group.
Meanwhile, having declared their first innings at 555 for four, the Delhi pacers led by Parvinder Awana (4/53), bundled out the visitors for a meagre 226 in their first essay last evening.
Resuming their second innings at an overnight score of two for no loss, Tamil Nadu, while following on with 327 runs adrift of Delhi`s massive first-innings total, batted cautiously to deny the hosts a chance to secure an outright victory and grab a point from the drawn tie.
Karthik and Badrinath stitched an unconquered 103-run partnership for the third wicket after the visitors had lost opener Abhinav Mukund (38, 104 balls, 7x4) and Baba Aparajith (9).
With the possibility of a result looking unlikely, Delhi skipper Shikhar Dhawan and his counterpart, Lakshmipathy Balaji of Tamil Nadu, mutually decided to end the match nine overs after tea.
Tamil Nadu had a difficult task as they had to bat out the entire day to save the match, and the openers helped the team`s cause with a century-plus stand for the first wicket.
Karthik and Mukund dug in their heels as both added 101 runs in 33.5 overs before pacer Vikas Mishra had the latter caught by Rajat Bhatia at mid-on.
Tamil Nadu went to lunch at 106 for one with Karthik and Aparajith batting on 59 and four respectively.
Mishra then got rid of Aparajith in the fifth over after lunch as the visitors were reduced to 117 for two.
Half way through the second session, Tamil Nadu were 147 for two with Karthik inching towards his fifth century.
Like their counterparts Tamil Nadu, who used as many as nine bowlers to stop the Delhi juggernaut, Delhi also used the same number of bowlers albeit for a different reason -- to give their players a bowling practice.
Barring Delhi`s regular bowlers, Mithun Manhas, Vaibhav Rawal, Unmukt Chand and Mohit Sharma all tried their hands at bowling, sharing 21 overs amongst themselves.
Tamil Nadu took the tea break at 191 for two in 68 overs with Karthik batting on 111 and Badrinath on 26.
Seven overs after tea, the stumps were drawn for the day with Delhi coach, Vijay Dahiya looking content.
For Delhi, Mishra finished with figures of two for 64 from his 24 overs.