A five wicket haul from left arm medium pacer Cheepurapalli Stephen (5/51) restricted Rajasthan to a reasonable score (275) on the opening day of a Ranji Trophy Group E match against Andhra at the KCA St. Xavier's College Ground here on Thursday.
At stumps, Andhra had grafted its way to 75 for two with a stolid Uppara Girinath unbeaten on 36. Left arm medium-pacer Aniket Choudhary was the pick of the Rajasthan bowlers with two for 10.
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Stephen exploited the favourable conditions in the morning and he rocked Rajasthan in the opening over when he had Yash Kothari (4) edging a catch to wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat. The other opener Manender Singh (14) was castled by Stephen as Rajasthan was pushed on the backfoot in the opening hour.
However, Aditya Garhwal (49) counterattacked the spinners and struck crisp boundaries to add a quick 43 runs with Mahipal Lomror for the third wicket. Debutant off spinner Tripurana Vijay induced a faint edge from Lomror (32) - which was snapped by Bharat from behind - to end a promising stand. Captain Ashok Menaria (40) played his strokes and hit left arm spinner Manish Golamaru out of the attack. The fourth wicket pair of Menaria and Garhwal raised the 50 runs in just six overs.
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But both batters fell in quick succession after lunch as Andhra clawed its way back. Rajesh Bishnoi (54) and Anirudh Singh (39) flayed the Andhra spinners. The duo added 76 runs for the sixth wicket in 12 overs before skipper Bharat turned to his medium pacers.
Stephen obliged as Anirudh top edged an intended pull and was dismissed caught and bowled. Stephen was in line for a hat-trick when Shubham Sharma was out for a golden duck. Rajasthan slipped further as Manav Suthar (5) fell to Stephen cheaply. Bishnoi completed his fifty but fell soon after when he tried to clear the infield with a lofted shot off KV Sasikanth. The last wicket pair of Aniket and Tanveer Ul-Haq added 22 runs before Manish redeemed himself with a wicket.
Andhra batters eschewed risks and wore down the Rajasthan attack. However, Aniket lifted his team's spirits by scalping Karan Shinde just before Stumps.