Devdutt Padikkal’s purple patch continued as he notched up his third century of the season to guide Karnataka to a strong position of 288 for five against Tamil Nadu on day one of the Elite Group-C Ranji Trophy match here at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Friday.
Electing to bat, Karnataka lost skipper Mayank Agarwal early, playing on to the stumps off Sai Kishore before Padikkal took centre-stage with an aggressive unbeaten 151 (216b, 12x4, 6x6).
The left-hander — who returned to the side after scoring a century and half-century in the two matches for India A against England Lions — took the attack to the TN pacers from the moment he walked in. He started his knock by lofting M. Mohammed over point and down the ground for a four and a six and gave the same treatment to Sandeep Warrier a while later.
At the other end, opener R. Samarth (57) made a valuable half-century and added 132 runs for the second wicket with Padikkal, setting a strong platform for the visitors.
After lunch, Padikkal launched into Sai Kishore, depositing the TN skipper over long-on and mid-wicket after getting to his half-century. The 23-year-old looked comfortable tackling the left-arm spinners on a pitch with variable bounce. He had a reprieve on 77 when Mohammed dropped a straightforward catch at long-on off Ajith Ram.
Padikkal made TN pay the price as he took apart Sai Kishore, hitting him for a six and two fours off consecutive deliveries to race to his sixth First Class hundred in style.
In the final session, TN fought back with three quick wickets through its spinners before Hardik Raj and Padikkal steadied things with an unbroken 54-run stand.
For the hosts, left-arm spinner Ajith Ram was the best bowler on the day. He bowled with control and guile, but got only one over before lunch and was given a lengthy spell only late into the second session. By that time Padikkal was already well set for a big one.
The scores: Karnataka — 1st innings: R. Samarth b Ajith Ram 57, Mayank Agarwal b Sai Kishore 20, Devdutt Padikkal (batting) 151, Nikin Jose c Jagadeesan b Sai Kishore 13, Manish Pandey lbw b Ajith Ram 1, Kishan Bedare c Pradosh b Sai Kishore 3, Hardik Raj (batting) 35; Extras (lb-7, w-1): 8; Total (for five wkts. in 90 overs): 288.
Fall of wickets: 1-35, 2-167, 3-226, 4-231, 5-234.
TN bowling: Warrier 18-1-63-0, Sai Kishore 26-3-94-3, Mohammed 11-2-31-0, Pradosh 7-1-17-0, Vijay Shankar 7-0-20-0, Ajith Ram 20-4-53-2, Boopathi 1-0-3-0.