Ranji Trophy: Hyderabad makes Andhra batsmen sweat

On day one of the round nine Ranji Trophy encounter, Andhra posted 190 and Hyderabad was 10 for no loss at stumps.

Ravi Kiran ended with figures of 4 for 33.   -  PTI

The Ekana International Cricket Stadium here created a fitting competitive structure for Andhra and Hyderabad on an action-packed opening day of the Ranji Trophy match on Wednesday. Andhra posted 190 and Hyderabad was 10 for no loss at stumps.

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Quality half-centuries by debutant Manyala Pranith and Ashwin Hebbar kept Andhra’s hopes alive against the lively seaming attack by Ravi Kiran and C.V. Milind on a pitch that is expected to test the skills and batting temperament of the Hyderabad batsmen now.

Put in to bat, Andhra encountered stiff conditions as the ball seamed and bounced, not alarmingly, but enough to cause consternation in the batting ranks. The athletic Kiran consumed four batsmen and Milind five as Andhra stuttered to put up a brave front in testing conditions.

Andhra lost Hanuma Vihari, Prasanth Kumar and Ricky Bhui at the score of 51 and after a 91-run sixth-wicket stand between M. Pranith and Ashwin Hebbar, it lost three wickets — Pranith, Siva Kumar and C.V. Stephen at 173. Cricket was intense, at times tempers rising in the middle on a cold day.

Kiran got the ball to move and bounce. The 'carry' was consistent and needed the batsmen to be at their best. With Milind also maintaining a stifling length at the other end, Hyderabad managed to keep a stranglehold on the opposition which saw five of its batsmen perish to catches behind, all by wicketkeeper K. Sumanth.

The 23-year-old Pranith, fresh from an unbeaten double century in the under-23 tournament that prompted his selection for this match, made an impression with his technique. “I just played my natural game. I looked to watch the ball closely and backed myself to play as perfectly as possible,” said Pranith.

Pranith and Hebbar then applied themselves well and produced a face-saving partnership. Hebbar gave himself the freedom to indulge in some fine shots in the front, while Pranith did not shy away from caning the bowlers when they erred. Hebbar hit six fours and Pranith 11 to provide the best phase of the day for Andhra. The rest was dominated by Hyderabad, thanks to the incisive spells by the lanky Kiran and Milind.