Pacer Kaushik and top-order batsmen put TN in driver`s seat

Chennai: Jagannathan Kaushik ripped apart the rival batting line-up with a five-wicket haul as Tamil Nadu put one foot in the Ranji Trophy semifinals after bundling out Maharashtra for 232 and then reaching a solid 259 for three in their Ranji Trophy quarter-final contest, on Tuesday.

Maharashtra began the day at a decent 204 for four but lost the last six wickets for a mere 28 runs with Kaushik devastating the visitors` batting line-up.

In reply, Tamil Nadu started off superbly, with opener Abhinav Mukund looking set for his seasons third century. But he missed out on his hundred by five runs when he was adjudged leg-before by Ajinkya Joshi. (12x4, 1x6)

Mukund (95) added 173 runs for the first wicket with Murali Vijay, who scored 79.

S Badrinath (35) and wicket-Keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik were coasting along well but the latter was out for 30.

Badrinath and K Vasudeva Das (1) were at the crease when stumps were drawn on day two as Tamil Nadu has so far taken a 27-run lead.

Earlier, Kaushik wreaked havoc as he scalped overnight batsman Sangram Atikhar (50) in the very first ball of the day by having him caught behind.

Then in his third over of the day, Kaushik dismissed Kedar Jadhav (3), Ahinkya Joshi (0) and Akshay Darekar (0) to virtually seal the fate of Maharashtra.

Domnic Joseph (0) was run out and Samad Fallah (2) was snared by Kaushik to end the Maharashtra`s first innings.