In a pressure situation, Ricky Bhui batted with composure. A natural striker, he was firm off either foot. In the cauldron, he displayed the broad blade of defence.
On Bhui, rests much of Andhra’s hopes.
Bhui (62 batting, 108b, 5x4, 1x6) and Andhra’s end-of-third-day score of 162 for five - it leads by 114 - means the last day will be decisive in this gripping Ranji Trophy duel at the Ramakrishna grounds.
Thursday ended dramatically with U.M.S. Girinath (18), done in by Sai Kishore’s extra bounce, being held smartly by Sai Sudharsan at silly point.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu added just 72 runs, bowled out for 345. A lead of 48 was below its expectations.
Hanuma Vihari marshalled his attack with imagination and led from the front when he opened the innings.
The duel between a fired-up Sandeep Warrier and Vihari was engrossing. There was good carry for Warrier even on the third day afternoon and he did strike Vihari on the chest with a lifter.
Vihari continued after treatment. The gutsy Vihari (26 off 48) was prised out on the leg-side by a rising ball from Vijay Shankar. Vihari was unhappy with the verdict.
Ricky Bhui and Sheikh Rasheed looked good - Rasheed flashed seamer L. Vignesh to the point fence.
However, Sai Sudharsan’s brilliant direct hit from square-leg, ended Rasheed’s (21) tenure.
The left-handed Karan Shinde was superbly held by Sai Sudarshan when Washington Sundar spun one away.
In the morning, seamers Nitish Kumar Reddy, who scalped four, and K.V. Sasikanth impressed on a Coimbatore surface with its traditional morning fizz. .
The left-handed Washington, shaping well, ran himself out and Shankar’s 75-ball 26 was terminated by Lalith Mohan’s away spinner.
Young southpaw Pradosh Ranjan Paul played close to the body, and displayed delicate touch, before he was caught at deep covers off Nitish.
Sai Kishore smote two straight sixes off off-spinner Shoaib Md. Khan but the Tamil Nadu innings concluded soon.
Tamil Nadu’s hero of the day was Sai Sudharsan with two fine catches and a sensational run-out. This match has his stamp.