Vimal Khumar’s stubborn knock of 144 (293b, 10×4, 2×6) helped TNCA President’s XI declare its innings at 333 for nine and take a marginal six-run first innings lead against Indian Railways on the penultimate day of the Buchi Babu invitation cricket tournament here on Thursday.
Resuming at 179 for five, the hosts lost an early wicket, but Vimal, in the company of M. Mohammed, showed tremendous patience to help the team gain the lead. It was certainly a difficult task considering Railways’ quality attack.
Railways did not allow the left-right combination to score freely. After showing immense concentration for nearly one and half-hours, Mohammed finally cover-drove left-arm spinner Akash Pandey to the fence. It took 110 balls for the pair to score the first boundary, but it certainly increased the confidence level of the batters.
Vimal worked hard and reached his century with a sharp single to mid-wicket. However, he knew the job was not done yet as the team was still 100 runs behind Railways’ first innings total.
After lunch, both Vimal and Mohammed began to play their shots and brought down the deficit to just 50. The duo looked good to notch-up a century stand, but fell one run short as Vimal departed to left-arm pacer Rahul Sharma’s guile. Mohammed and Lakshay Jain followed him soon to the dressing room.
There was concern in the TNCA camp as the wickets kept falling. But, the tail steered the team to 317 for nine at tea. And with Railways being penalised 16 runs for bowling three overs short, the host managed the lead.
The scores (day three): Indian Railways 327 & 34/0 in 16 overs vs TNCA President’s XI 333/9 decl. in 124 overs (R. Vimal Khumar 144, M. Mohammed 45).