Ranji Trophy: Pacers put Andhra on top

Andhra walked away with honours at the end of first day's play after reducing Hyderabad to 226 for 7.

Andhra pacer K.V. Sasikant celebrates after dismissing Akshath Reddy.   -  V.V. SURBAHANYAM

Andhra’s gamble of putting Hyderabad in to bat paid off with the pacers striking at regular intervals to leave the latter in trouble at 226 for seven at close of play on the first day of the Ranji Trophy Group-B match at Dr. PVG Raju Sports Complex here on Sunday.

Thakur Tilak Varma, who replaced Rohit Rayudu for this match, failed to come good and perished to the pace of Sasikanth in the fourth over of the morning.

As it happened: Ranji Trophy Round 8, Day 1

Then it was in-form opener Tanmay Agarwal and captain Akshath Reddy who strung together a 61-run stand before the former became a victim of left-arm pacer Prithvi Raj, who was clearly the most effective - often digging it short and moving the ball both ways.

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Akshath and Sandeep put on a 72-run stand for the third wicket, but the latter disappointed again after a confident start, being bowled by an in-swinger from Girinath Reddy. In the next over, Akshath, who completed his third fifty (57, 136b, 9x4) of the season (besides two centuries), offered a tentative push off Sasikanth to be caught behind.

A dismissal which brought life into Andhra camp and importantly the pace attack in getting the breakthroughs later in the day. So much so that after Akshath departed, the sixth wicket pair of Himalay Agarwal and wicketkeeper-batsman K.S.K. Chaitanya (6, 43b) scored just one run in the next 10 overs.

Later on, though Himalay (59, 103b, 7x4, 2x6) meted out special treatment for off-spinner Shoaib Mohammad Khan by hitting him for three fours and two huge sixes. But was dismissed just before close of play to the second new-ball when he played into the trap on the leg-side. After being hit for two fours on the on-side, Sasikanth pitched one marginally short to lure a drive but Himalay played straight to the fielder at mid-on.

At Vizianagaram

Hyderabad 226 for seven in 81.4 overs (Tanmay Agarwal 44, Akshath Reddy 57, Himalay Agarwal 59) vs Andhra.

Toss: Andhra.