Ranji Trophy: Aamir helps J&K take first innings lead

Andhra’s batsmen may not have deemed Aamir Aziz exactly as their biggest threat among the Jammu & Kashmir bowlers. His maiden five-wicket haul helped J&K take the all-important first innings lead in the Ranji Trophy Group C match.

Aamir Aziz's maiden five-wicket haul helped J&K take the all-important first innings lead in the Ranji Trophy Group C match, at the Brabourne Stadium here on Saturday.   -  p.k. ajith kumar

Andhra’s batsmen may not have deemed Aamir Aziz exactly as their biggest threat among the Jammu & Kashmir bowlers. The left-arm spinner had taken six wickets from as many First Class matches after making his debut four years ago.

He nearly doubled that tally on Saturday, as his maiden five-wicket haul helped J&K take the all-important first innings lead in the Ranji Trophy Group C match, at the Brabourne Stadium here on Saturday. J&K will go into the final day with a lead of 110, with eight wickets intact.

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Once Andhra went past the follow-on mark, it was always going to be mostly a battle for the first innings points. Chasing J&K’s 334, Andhra was very much in contention of achieving that target, with D.B. Ravi Teja (81, 279min, 184b, 9x4) and Ashwin Hebbar (38) doing an excellent job of rebuilding the innings through their seventh wicket partnership.

But, they were separated by Aamir, who had Ravi caught well in the slip by Parvez Rasool. The 94-run stand thus ended at the stroke of tea. As did the Andhra resistance; it managed to lose its last four wickets for an addition of five runs.

And it was the second spectacular collapse of the day by Andhra. After resuming at the overnight 72 for two, it had slumped to 90 for five in the morning. Then A.G. Pradeep (47) joined Ravi and they raised 66 for the sixth wicket to keep Andhra in the hunt for the first innings lead.

Ravi sounded disappointed that his fine effort wasn’t enough to meet the team’s target. “In this innings, I batted lower than I usually do as I was assigned to guide the lower order,” said the seasoned cricketer who moved to Andhra this season after a long innings with Hyderabad. “I was hoping my partnerships with Pradeep and Ashwin might give us the lead.”

But, of course, those hopes were destroyed by Aamir, who finished with five for 62 from 33 overs. “I am glad that I have been able to help my team take the first-innings lead,” he said. “And Maharashtra has once again proved lucky for me; I had taken seven wickets in a match in this State in junior cricket. I really enjoyed bowling today and senior spinner Parvez gave me some valuable tips.”

Other matches (Group C):

> Chhattisgarh v Haryana

> Goa v Services

> Himachal Pradesh v Tripura

> Hyderabad v Kerala

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