Ranji Trophy: Skipper Akshath stands tall for Hyderabad

Hyderabad captain Akshath Reddy scores an unbeaten 114 to help the visiting team finish Day 1 at 249 for three against Tamil Nadu.

Akshath Reddy in full flow for Hyderabad during the Ranji Trophy clash against Tamil Nadu in Tirunelveli on Monday.   -  R. Ragu

Akshath Reddy is a great admirer of Rahul Dravid. Obviously, he must have picked up a few tips on how to be rock solid by watching the master batsman play. He displayed it as well with a gritty unbeaten 114 (243b, 14x4, 1x6) that helped Hyderabad finish the day at 249 for three against Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy clash at the Sankar Cements grounds here on Monday.

Ranji Trophy - Round 2, Day 1: As it Happened

Akshath, the visiting skipper, chose to bat on a slow turner of a track. Speedsters M. Mohammed and K. Vignesh bowled with express pace and, it paid off with the former forcing opener Tanmay Agarwal gift a dolly to N. Jagadeesan behind the stumps.

To further build the pressure, B. Indrajith brought in debutant C.V. Varun. The mystery spinner bowled without much success. Left-arm spinner Rahil Shah was tried from the other end. He bowled a better line and even mixed his deliveries well. After sweating for sometime under the baking hot sun, he came up with a gentle turner that did a bit. Rohit Rayudu played defensively but the ball ballooned out of his willow and, Anirudh Sitaram grabbed the chance at forward short leg.

It would have been even worse for Hyderabad had Jagadeesan not dropped a ‘juicy lollipop’ offered by Himalay Agarwal off Mohammed’s bowling. The batsman had scored only seven then.

It was at this juncture that the skipper stood strong. He showed immense patience and stitched a 59-run partnership for the third wicket. It looked rosy from there but Vignesh, who is back after an injury, returned to remove Himalay for 29. This time Jagadeesan made no mistake.

But Akshath had steadied the ship by then. He also had the ever-reliable B. Sandeep (74 n.o., 10x4, 1x6) to give him the much-needed support. The duo dealt with boundaries and even hit a few over the ropes to build an unbeaten 136-run stand for the fourth wicket that can well turn crucial for the team.

Akshath was quite pleased with the knock. “The pitch was pretty good. I tried to stay as long as possible and once I got set it was easy going. It was our game plan to build a partnership and we did just that.”

“The outfield was pretty slow otherwise we would have added more runs,” he added.

The scores:

Hyderabad – 1innings: Tanmay Agarwal c N. Jagadeesan b M. Mohammed 10, Akshath Reddy (batting) 114, Rohit Rayadu c Anirudh Sitaram b Rahil Shah 13, Himalay Agarwal c Jagadeesan b K. Vignesh 29, B. Sandeep (batting) 74.

Total (for three wkts., in 90 overs) 249; Extras (nb-1, w-3, b-4, lb-4).

Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-54, 3-113.

TN bowling: K. Vignesh 15-1-47-1, M. Mohammed 16-4-46-1, C.V. Varun 20-6-51-0, Rahil Shah 26-6-54-1, B. Aparajith 6-0-25-0, J. Kousik 5-2-16-0, Kaushik 2-0-5-0.

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