It was an innings which typified the resolve and temperament in young Ricky Bhui to play a long innings.
The young man, for sure, did notch his second century of the season, but still Kerala had every reason to be satisfied as it could restrict Andhra to a modes 225 for 8 on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Pool B match at the St. Xavier’s cricket stadium in Thumba on Monday.
Andhra, opting to bat first did struggle almost all day but for the brilliant phase that Bhui and debutant Siva Charan Singh brought out with a strokeful 92-run partnership for the sixth wicket after the side was left reeling at 116 for five soon after lunch.
The side was rocked by Basil Thampi's twin blows, who through a fiery opening spell removed both the openers in quick succession.
Things seemed to settle down in Andhra’s favour as D.B. Ravi Teja and Bhui got together for the third wicket, associating themselves with a fine 63-run stand before the former departed with three deliveries remaining for the end of the first session.
This success of snaring Teja (24) really did wonders for K.C. Akshay, who when given the opportunity against Hyderabad last week had bowled flat and thus was only sparingly used.
However, it proved to be a different story this afternoon as he mixed his deliveries well and kept the rival batsmen guessing all the while and finished with a deserving four wicket haul.
Stand-in skipper B. Sumanth and Karn Sharma failed for its side, unable to live up to expectations.
However, Bhui was nonchalant and the manner in which he tackled the Kerala bowling only spoke volumes of the great form that he is in at the moment.
The young Andhra batsman was severe against Akshay Chandran, the second left-arm spinner in the home squad, and did remarkably well to step out against Jalaj Saxena to smother the spin and keep the scoreboard moving.
In debutant Charan Singh, Bhui found a safe ally before he completed the magical three-figure mark.
But soon after tea, taken at 189 for five, Andhra suffered another slide as Akshay, reintroduced into the attack, took the prized wicket of Bhui and Singh.
While Bhui made (109, 205b, 10*4, 1*6), Singh made 45 before he was adjudged leg before.
Sandeep Warrier, brought back, castled G. Manish (2) into his third ball of the fourth spell bringing curtains down of a well-contested day.