Ranji Trophy: Andhra in control despite Odisha revival

Odisha needs another 140 runs to avoid the follow-on, thus setting the stage for a fascinating on-field tussle in its Ranji Trophy Group C tie on the final day.

Govind Poddar scored a century for Odisha on Thursday.   -  PTI

Andhra wrested the initiative in its Group ‘C’ Ranji Trophy contest by restricting Odisha to 294 for six in 102 overs on the penultimate day at Dr. PVG Raju ACA Sports Complex here on Thursday. Odisha needs another 140 runs to avoid the follow-on, thus setting the stage for a fascinating on-field tussle on the final day.

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Andhra made its first breakthrough in the fourth over of the day. Substitute Jyothi Sai Krishna took a breathtaking catch at short leg off medium pacer Sasikanth to dismiss overnight batsman Sandeep Pattnaik. However, for the next 56-odd overs, Andhra bowlers endured hard toil and profuse sweating as success eluded them.

Making hay

Skipper Govind Poddar (111 runs, 182b, 301m, 13x4) and Subhransu Senapati (91 runs, 197b, 257m, 11x4, 1x6) complemented each other well and helped their team recover. With the ball coming nicely on to the bat and the dry outfield hastening the ball’s travel, run-making seemed an easy task for the visitors. Poddar-Senapati duo gathered 185 runs together for the third wicket.

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Medium pacer B. Ayyappa’s ploy of disturbing the concentration of well-set batsmen with a series of short-pitched deliveries did not yield results.

In the post-lunch session, Poddar reached his first century of the season and the sixth of his career. Senapati played the role of the second fiddle to perfection, milking the rival attack on a day when the sun was scorching.

Drama

The Andhra captain, Hanuma Vihari, kept shuffling seven bowlers, but the breakthrough was not in the vicinity. Three overs - 69, 70 and 71 - involved some drama - all involving Govind Poddar.

First, Ricky Bhui floored an easy skier at deep point when Poddar miscued left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt. Then, in the 71st over, Poddar was declared leg-before by umpire Sanjeev Dua only to change his mind and negating the decision much to the dejection of the host. In the next over, Poddar was brilliantly caught by Ashwin Hebbar at the short leg, who held on to a catch after it ricocheted from his chest.

Brief Scores
  • Odisha 294 for 6 (Poddar 111, Senapati 91; Bhatt 3 for 66, Sasikanth 2 for 30) trails Andhra 584 for 5 by 290 runs.