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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Vijay and Ashwin: Two TN Cricketers Set to End 25-Year Wait

A two-decade long wait could well end on Friday when M.S. Dhoni reveals the XI for the first Test against Australia. For the first time since 1988, a Test match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium is all set to feature two local boys. While R. Ashwin will have a key role to play as a spin spearhead, M. Vijay is fancied to open the innings with Virender Sehwag. The duo have played together in shorter versions -in the IPL and ODIs -at Chepauk, but it will be their first five-day experience in front of the home crowd.

Even if Vijay loses the race to left-handed Shikhar Dhawan, the fans will have a lot to cheer about as a TN player will be in action against Australia in Chennai for the first time since S. Ramesh played a vital role in India's series-deciding win in 2001.

The last time two TN cricketers played in a Chennai Test was in 1988 against the West Indies. While opener Kris Srikkanth had a quite outing with a match aggregate of 40 runs, debutant W.V. Raman top-scored in the second innings with 83 as India cruised to a 255-run victory. Since 1934, Chepauk has staged 30 Test matches and the last being the India-England contest in 2008 that the hosts won by six wickets.

Srikkanth is the most successful TN batsman at Chepauk having scored 271 runs in seven innings. He scored a brilliant hundred (123) and was involved in a double-century opening stand with Sunil Gavaskar against Pakistan in 1987. S. Venkataraghavan has taken 18 wickets in eight innings.


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