In the land of Maharaj Kumar Vijay Anand Gajapathi Raju, better known as Vizzy, the city of Vzianagaram dished out an exciting Day one of the Ranji Trophy match, with Andhra drawing first blood against Assam.
It was a track where the red ball moved, and bowlers pitching it up, maintaining line and lengths, reaped rewards as Andhra bowled out Assam for a paltry 113 and took a vital 47-run lead to finish the opening day at 160 for the loss of three wickets.
Vizzy played alongside the great Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe during 1930-31. His demand and dream of producing sporting wickets are still alive as Madhav Rayudu, the right-arm medium-fast bowler rattled the visitors with a four-wicket haul, and K Venkata Sasikanth shared the spoils by picking three wickets.
The toss fell in Assam’s favour, but its decision to bat first backfired as Andhra’s bowling moved in proportions, seaming and swinging, obeying the orders of the new ball operators.
Such was the command from a relentless Andhra bowling attack that Rayudu didn’t even break a sweat to pick four wickets in just 4.5 overs accounting for a maiden and giving just 12 runs.
Sasikanth, who took three wickets, eclipsed his bowling partner with three maidens and gave away just 34 runs in 11 overs. Nitish Kumar Reddy and Lalith Mohan accounted for one wicket each on a surface that will aid the batters in the next three days.
Rishav Das and Subham Mandal’s 49-run partnership was the only notable show from Assam, as the rest cracked under pressure in testing conditions.
Rajan Gnaneshwar and Abhishek Reddy strolled out with confidence, but Hridip Deka injected hope by removing Gnaneshwar. However, the new ball, once again, worked in favour of Andhra as skipper Hanuman Vihari and Abhishek constructed the innings with crafty half-centuries.