Ranji Trophy: Andhra takes first-innings lead after Bhatt shines with ball

With the ball losing its sheen, left-arm orthodox spinner Bhargav Bhatt was among the wickets - his 4 for 93 restricting Tripura to 315.

Left-arm orthodox spinner Bhargav Bhatt spun a web around the Tripura line-up, claiming as many as four wickets.   -  Basheer

Andhra took a first-innings lead of 87 runs, as Tripura was dismissed for 315 shortly after tea on the penultimate day of its Ranji Trophy Group C match at the Maharaja Bir Bikram University stadium on Saturday. Batting again, the visitor posted 51 for the loss of D.B. Prasanth Kumar.

With the ball losing its sheen, left-arm orthodox spinner Bhargav Bhatt was among the wickets. Overnight batsman and opener Samrat Singha committed himself to a forward defence but couldn’t smother the spin - the outer edge resulting in a simple catch to Prasanth in the slips.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Meanwhile, Udiyan Bose, who notched up a century against Odisha in October, couldn’t curb the urge to hit out, lofting the tweaker straight to Prithvi Raj at mid-on. And Smit Patel was caught at point off P. Vijay Kumar.

Andhra captain G.H. Vihari persisted with Andhra's Mr. Reliable Vijay, and the pacer duly delivered forcing Rajat Dey to nick one to K.S. Bharat behind the stumps off the very next ball.

The Andhra attack, though, was thwarted by Yashpal Singh and M.B. Murasingh. The latter led by example - the right arm medium pacer morphing into a dominating left-hand batsman. Short-arm pulls from the Tripura skipper and a 51-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Yashpal, kept the opposition fielders on their toes.

The Punjab import was caught by Bharat off part-time finger spinner Vihari in the session’s penultimate over with the host on 163 for six at lunch.

Murasingh, who on the eve of this match was unhappy with his showing this season, more than made amends, cracking a fighting 81. The southpaw struck four sixes with effortless ease. But just when the Tripura skipper appeared to take his team out of the woods, he fell to a fine catch by B. Sumanth at deep mid-wicket.

Gurinder continued the good work, cracking 11 boundaries and a six for a fighting 81, but his riposte ended when an attempted slog-sweep was held by Bandaru Ayyappa at long-leg off Bhatt.