Ranji Trophy: Andhra batsmen dominate Tripura

The overnight pair of Prasanth and Vihari preferred to wait and watch for weaknesses in the Tripura attack to capitalise on. Dig themselves in they did, figuratively if not literally, seeing off the first hour and then going on to dominate the bowlers.

Andhra's Hanuma Vihari (pic) was 144* at the end of day's play.   -  V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Centuries by D.B. Prasanth Kumar (129, 13 x 4, 2 x 6) and G. Hanuma Vihari (144 not out, 14 x 4) enabled Andhra pile up the misery on Tripura on day two of their Ranji group C cricket match at the Sardar Patel Stadium here on Monday. When stumps were drawn, Vihari seemed unflappable after a day-long stay. Keeping him company was former Hyderabad captain and team-mate Ravi Teja as Andhra closed at a sizeable 377 for three.

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The southern side built its innings brick by brick and mostly through brisk running between the wickets. The overnight pair of Prasanth and Vihari preferred to wait and watch for weaknesses in the Tripura attack to capitalise on. 'Dig themselves in' they did, figuratively if not literally, seeing off the first hour that can be fatal for some.

If the partnership of these two was key to Andhra’s progress, the duo made sure there was little to strain it. Calling for runs and covering the turf between the stumps were smooth, no urgency seen in their sedate and steady advance. The first 50 of their association took a minute less than two hours, the march to three figures about another hour and quarter more.

Monday’s first session produced a mere 78 and Andhra took over four hours to cross 150. Skipper Vihari’s glanced boundary brought parity and as if to drive the point home, Prasanth smacked the ball into the sight screen for his second six, the earlier one sailing over long on. The 25-year-old Andhra opener then took his tally of centuries to half a dozen, a pull-sweep bringing up the magic mark, his chancless endeavour also adorned by 10 boundaries.

About a quarter of an hour to tea, Prasanth, startled somewhat by a steepler from slow left arm spinner Gurinder Singh, swatted it straight to Bunti Roy at point. The nearly three and half hour stand with Vihari, inching to three figures, was worth 240 runs. Tripura picked up its second new ball and the Andhra captain chose to tread with care.

The wicket offered little to the hapless bowlers, sweat and toil their lot for most of the day. Century no. 10 came up shortly for Vihari, studded with 11 boundaries. Hyderabad’s ex-captain was hardly tested by the bowling that once too often strayed way down the leg-side, the damage contained to some extent by Smit Patel’s acrobatic keeping.

Ricky Bhui appeared to be making up for lost time from the championship on account of a shoulder surgery. After logging 50 from 76 balls, that took a little over 100 minutes, he lofted the spinners twice to the sight screen. Lucky to survive a botched stumping chance off Gurinder, he was trapped in front by the southpaw off the next and the over’s last ball .

The former India under 19 player had pepped up the scoring rate though, his 89-ball 64 taking less than two hours.