Pace spearhead Ashok Dinda (3/68) again produced a lion-hearted effort but lacked support from fellow pacers Sourav Sarkar (1/48) and rookie Pritam Chakraborty (0/33).

After Laxmi Ratan Shukla opted to field, Tamil Nadu were reduced to 91 for four, the visitors rode on Karthik's 92 off 131 balls which had 13 hits to the fence.

By the time, he missed out on a well-deserved century by eight runs edging one from Dinda to Shreevats Goswami behind the stumps, he had somewhat scripted a recovery act with a 105-run fifth wicket stand with Ramaswamy Prasanna (35 batting).

At stumps, Rajagopal Sathish (10 batting) was at the crease with Prasanna on a curtailed day with only 66 overs possible due to wet outfield.

"We would have loved to have Karthik unbeaten at the crease but it's still anybody's game. The first session will be crucial tomorrow," Tamil Nadu opener Abhinav Mukund told reporters.

For the third successive time, Bengal skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla won the toss and opted to field but the team was severely let down by their frail bowling line-up which was virtually reduced to one-man attack in Dinda.

The Bengal speedster castled opener K Bharath Shankar (18) and No 3 Baba Aparajith (26) early on and went on to remove the 'danger man' Karthik to let Bengal finish the opening day with a glint of optimism.

Latest News from Sports News Desk