Ranji Trophy: Sumanth's unbeaten 91 gives Hyderabad vital first innings lead

After bowling Kerala out for 164, Hyderabad edged past the total thanks to K. Sumanth's batting heroics in the day two of the Ranji Trophy match.

Ravi Kiran rattles the stumps of Kerala's Rohan Prem.   -  V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Hyderabad’s saviour of the day turned out to be wicketkeeper-batsman K. Sumanth (91 batting, 157b, 11x4) as he helped the team clinch the vital first innings lead against Kerala on the second day of the four-day Ranji Trophy Elite Group match at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Saturday.

Earlier, Kerala’s innings, resuming at overnight score of 126 for seven, lasted 10 overs today to end at 164 as the pace duo of Ravi Kiran and Mohammed Siraj picked four wickets apiece to ensure that the tail didn’t wag.

In reply, Hyderabad, which was off to disastrous start with seasoned opener P. Akshath Reddy failing once again, driving away from his body only to give a leading edge to the wicketkeeper Vishnu Vinod off pacer Sandeep Warrier’s fifth ball of the innings.

In the next over, new-ball partner Basil Thampi trapped the captain Tanmay Agarwal leg before as he made a half-hearted, defensive push.

The batting woes continued for home team with Himalay Agarwal doing exactly what former India captain Mohd Azharuddin told him not to in the ‘nets’ - play a stroke without getting to the pitch of the ball. His attempted off-drive was snapped up smartly in his follow-through by Warrier.

A situation which tested the efficacy of debutants J. Mallikarjun and Jaweed Ali but they failed, looking out of sorts and over-cautious too. They perished cheaply, playing irresponsible strokes.

Then, Sumanth and all-rounder T. Ravi Teja (32, 44b, 4x4) put on a useful stand of 46 runs with the latter being more aggressive even as the former decided to drop anchor.

Importantly, Sumanth strung together another gritty 72-run stand for the eighth wicket with a Saaketh Sai Ram (27, 72b, 3x4) which effectively dashed whatever hopes Kerala had of coming back strongly after reducing the host to 110 for seven at one stage.

The star of the day was Sumanth in the face of a splendid bowling performance by Kerala pacers to steer his team to 193 for eight at the end of day's play.

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