Chennai, Nov 3 : A double strike late in the day by seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji left Assam precariously placed at 159 for four in the second innings, still trailing Tamil Nadu by three runs on the penultimate day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group A match here Wednesday.
It left the experienced Sridharan Sriram (87 not out) with the task of salvaging the situation for Assam Thursday with not much of batting to follow.
Behind by 162 runs on the first innings after Tamil Nadu declared at 346 for nine, Assam began their second innings shakily, losing opener Parvez Aziz in the very second over.
Dheeraj Jadhav (38) and Sriram put on 112 runs for the second wicket, before Tamil Nadu bowlers struck thrice.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin got rid of Jadhav and then Balaji removed skipper Amol Mazumdar (2) and Deepak Sharma (2) as Assam slid to 118 for four.
Thereafter, Sriram and Tarjinder Singh (23 not out) saw the day off, but face a challenging task on the final day as Tamil Nadu sense a possible victory.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu, resuming at 300 for four, lost wickets in a hurry on the third morning. Both Anirudha Srikkanth (95) and Sathish Rajagopal (74), the overnight batsmen who looked good for a century apiece, were dismissed in quick succession before tail-ender Chandrasekar Ganapathy (24) hung on to stretch the total.
Scoreboard: Assam (first innings): 184 Tamil Nadu (first innings, Overnight 300 for 4): Abhinav Mukund c Mazumdar b Konwar 32; Anirudha Srikkanth lbw Tarafdar 95; Arun Karthik b Konwar 15; Subramaniam Badrinath lbw Tarjinder Singh 83; Dinesh Karthi c Saikia b Mali 4; Sathish Rajagopal c Tarjinder b Mali 74; Ravichandran Ashwin c Tarjinder b Mali 4; Chandrasekar Ganapathy b Tarjinder 24; Lakshmipathy Balaji c Saikia b Goswami 5; Sunil Sam (not out) 0. Extras (b-10, lb-3, nb-5, w-2): 20. Total (for 9 wkts decl, 114.1 overs, stumps): 346. Fall of wickets: 1-52; 2-94; 3-146; 4-281; 5-308, 6-308, 7-316; 8-335; 9-346. Bowling: Sujay Tarafdar 19-2-60-1 (2nb); Ranjitkumar Mali 25-6-73-3 (1nb, 1w); Dhiraj Goswami 17-3-57-1; Arlen Konwar 31-5-91-2; Sridharan Sriram 14-2-38-0; Tarjinder Singh 6.1-1-13-2; Parvez Aziz 2-1-1-0. Assam (second innings): Dheeraj Jadhav c Ganapathy b Ashwin 38; Parvez Aziz c D Karthik b Ganapathy 2; Sridharan Sriram (batting) 87; Amol Mazumdar lbw Balaji 2; Deepak Sharma c. Muund b Balaji 2; Tarjinder Singh (batting) 23. Extras: (lb-2, nb-2, w-1): 5. Total (for 4 wkts, 64 overs, stumps): 159 Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-114, 3-116, 4-118. Bowling: Lakshmipathy Balaji 10-3-14-2; Chandrasekar Ganapathy 10-4-22-1; Ravichandran Ashwin 23-4-44-1; Sunil Sam 6-2-22-1; Aushik Srinivas 14-4-48-0; Abhinav. Mukund 1-0-7-0.(IANS)