Ranji Trophy: Ayyappa gives Andhra advantage

A lot of balls kept low and Andhra pacer Bandaru Ayyappa made the most of it.

Andhra wielded the whip on day three of its Ranji Trophy group C match against Madhya Pradesh at the Dr. P.V.G. Raju ACA Sports Complex on Friday. After the home side registered 376 in its first innings, it reduced the visiting team to 67 for five by the close.

Scorecard

A lot of balls kept low and Andhra pacer Bandaru Ayyappa made the most of it. With a delivery that dipped low, he rapped Aditya Shrivastava on the pads. He next bowled Shubham Sharma neck and crop.

Ayyappa’s third victim was MP’s first innings top-scorer Harpreet Singh Bhatia. The left-hander tried to flick the speedster, instead top-edged to mid-off Bhargav Bhatt. The latter squeezed a snick out of Rajat Bhatia into the waiting hands of stumper K.S. Bharat.

Match Report: Day 1, Day 2

Reeling at 18 for four in its second essay, MP’s skipper Devendra Bundela and Ankit Sharma restored some stability, putting on 49 for the fifth wicket. That was until the latter went on the back foot and was trapped in front by G. Hanuma Vihari off the day’s last ball.

LIVE BLOG: Ranji Trophy, Day 3

Earlier, Mihir Hirwani’s bag of five for 82 helped Madhya Pradesh restrict Andhra’s first innings to prevent the host from stretching a 55-run lead. The bearded youngster, following in his famous father’s footsteps, was on a hat-trick too, castling K.V. Sasikanth and snaring Bhargav Bhatt to spoon a catch to mid-off Rajat Patidar off successful deliveries.

Ashwin Hebbar’s career-best knock of 77 (8 x 4, 1 x 6) and D.B. Ravi Teja’s patient 58 (4 x 4) ensured Andhra took the first innings lead for the fourth time in a row this season. Both of them however fell four and two runs short of target respectively but played a pivotal role in wresting back the initiative.

Their 143-run association for the sixth wicket saw Andhra tide over Thursday’s late evening and Friday early morning blues, bringing their side within shouting distance of the target. Sasikanth’s cover driven boundary saw the host move ahead, followed by some lusty hitting by Ayyappa. The Andhra speedster cleared the ropes over long on and square leg despite the field being spread out for the marauding duo.