Ranji Trophy: Services stabilises after initial setback

Andhra had Services at 19/2 after the 20th over as the latter chose to bat at Indore. But a few dropped catches and Andhra's unthreatening bowling allowed Services to finish the day at 171/3.

anshul gupta ranji

Services opener Anshul Gupta struck a 268-ball 72 before falling in the 85th over.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Dropped catches by D. B. Prasanth, Srikanth and overstepping by medium pacer B. Ayyappa proved costly for Andhra as Services, after an initial setback, went on to score 170 for three in 90 overs at the end of the first day’s play at the Holkar Stadium here on Saturday.

Opener Anshul Gupta (72, 268b, 8x4) and S. U. Yadav (60 batting, 220b, 7x4) weaved a laborious 140-run third-wicket partnership as Services scored less than two runs per over.

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Andhra's bowlers hardly bothered the batsmen. After the 20th over, which saw the fall of two wickets in succession, it was a hard grind for them.

Part-time spinner D. B. Ravi Teja broke through in the 85th over, trapping the well-set Anshul LBW.

Both Anshul and S.U. Yadav preferred caution to flamboyance and played the balls according to their merit. They complimented each other by resolutely digging in to tackle the rival bowling. With the ball coming on to the bat nicely on a hot day, the duo played the waiting game, punishing only the loose balls.

After Services chose to bat, left-arm medium pacer Ch. Stephen, in his first over of his second spell, struck twice to give his team the vital breakthrough. Southpaw and skipper Sumit Chatterjee failed to measure the length of the ball and was perished behind.

The next ball Stephen succeed in uprooting the middle stump of Ravi Chauhan with an express delivery that came in sharply.

Ayyappa, who succeeded in tempting Anshul for a miscued pull that was caught, was shattered when umpire called him for over-stepping.

Prasanth, fielding at silly point, floored two sharp chances and Srikanth too added agony to the team management by dropping a half–chance.

“We need to take these catches. We would have been in a comfortable position had we grabbed these (catches),” felt Andhra coach Sanath Kumar.