Captain Tanmay Agarwal led from the front with a brilliant century (123 batting, 154b, 12x4, 1x6) to keep Hyderabad’s hopes of victory alive against Assam in a Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Thursday.
Agarwal scored his 10th Ranji Trophy ton (in 47 matches) and his second of the season, single-handedly taking the home team close to the target of 250. Hyderabad was 228 for 9 at stumps on day three.
Agarwal’s innings was one of the best of his career. The way he farmed the strike and pushed the Assam bowlers, who brought their team back into contention in the final session of the day (Hyderabad collapsed from 100 for two at tea to 182 for eight), was commendable. He picked the gaps well with the field spread out. And when he reached a well-deserved century with the team score reading 197 for eight in the 56th over, there were no celebrations at all.
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It was another disappointing display by the other Hyderabad batters. Bhavesh Seth (41, 66b, 4x4, 2x6) and Buddhi Rahul (28, 24b, 3x4) looked good but were in a hurry to go for the big strokes and paid the price. For Assam, spinners Riyan Parag, Sarupam Purkayastha and Gokul Sharma struck at regular intervals to keep their team in the hunt. They stuck to a probing line and length, and often got extra bounce.
On Friday, all hopes hinge on Agarwal, who was lucky to see the fielder at deep mid-wicket drop a catch when he was on 113 (off Akash Sengupta).
Earlier, a gritty 68-run stand for the eighth wicket between Akash Sengupta (31, 128b, 3x4) and Siddharth Sarmah (36 n.o., 104b, 5x4) helped Assam wriggle out of a crisis of sorts at 182 for seven in 41.1 overs. The team eventually posted what turned out to be a challenging target. Fast bowler T. Ravi Teja was impressive, picking up five wickets.