Ranji Trophy: Services’ bowlers clean out Andhra for lead

Services’ bowlers, led by left-arm spinners Azaruddin Bloch (five for 92) and V. U. Yadav (three for 81), unleashed surgical strikes against Andhra with precision thus thwarting its quest to clinch the crucial three points from the Group ‘C’ Ranji Trophy fixture that ended in a draw at the Holkar Stadium on Tuesday.

Azaruddin Bloch... superb spell.

Services’ bowlers, led by left-arm spinners Azaruddin Bloch (five for 92) and V. U. Yadav (three for 81), unleashed surgical strikes against Andhra with precision thus thwarting its quest to clinch the crucial three points from the Group ‘C’ Ranji Trophy fixture that ended in a draw at the Holkar Stadium on Tuesday.

Andhra, resuming at 177 for one, was all out for 341 in 145.2 overs. Services clinched the first innings lead of 105 runs and pocketed the all-important three points.

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The final day belonged to Bloch and Yadav who succeeded in using the conditions brilliantly to weave the web around the legs of the rival batsmen. With closing fielders breathing around their necks, the Andhra batsmen had a torrid time tackling the spinners who grew in confidence as the day progressed.

The morning session saw Bloch and Yadav sharing four wickets, pushing Andhra on the back foot by reducing it to 264 for six at lunch.

Prasanth (110 runs, 293b, 421m, 12x4, 1x6) and skipper Vihari began the restoration work after the departure of overnight batsman Srikkanth but disaster struck when both of them left in quick succession. Bloch lured Vihari to leave his crease and wicket keeper Nakul Sharma was swift to knock off the bails.

Prasanth looked confident-personified and began to stroke the ball into the gaps soon after completing his first hundred of the season. However he fell to a Yadav delivery which came in sharply.

Wickets started to tumble at regular intervals for Andhra. With Ravi Teja, Ashwin Hebbar and D. Siva Kumar making quick exits, Andhra was on the back foot. A. G. Pradeep (76 runs, 192m, 164b, 7x4) waged a lone battle and stayed in the middle for more than three hours.

Andhra with the one point from the match has hauled 15 points, while Services has garnered six points so far. Andhra will be playing Tripura at Valsad while Services takes on Hyderabad at Mumbai. Both the matches will commence from November 12.