Ranji Trophy: Andhra still in the hunt

Andhra kept its hopes alive by reducing Hyderabad to 81 for five on the second day of their Ranji Trophy match. With the exception of B. Anirudh (26 batting) and Himalay Agarwal (22) there was no resistance from the Hyderabad batsmen.

B. Anirudh Ranji Trophy Andhra v Hyderabad

B. Anirudh held steady for Hyderabad on Thursday.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Half the day’s quota of 90 overs was lost to poor light but Andhra kept its hopes alive by reducing Hyderabad to 81 for five on the second day of their Ranji Trophy match at the Ekana International Cricket Stadium here on Thursday.

>Scorecard

Once again it was a tense contest between the bat and the ball. The pitch, with true bounce and assistance for the seamers, was the focus on a day of restricted sunshine. With the exception of B. Anirudh (26 batting) and Himalay Agarwal (22) there was no resistance from the Hyderabad batsmen.

The Andhra seam attack concentrated on pitching the ball up since there was help from the pitch. The ball darted a few times and gave Hyderabad many anxious moments. The wicket of Akshath Reddy in the ninth over triggered the collapse and left Hyderabad desperately trying to hang in.

Lack of temperament, if not necessarily the technique, was apparent as Hyderabad batsmen contrived their dismissals. Reddy nicked behind while Badrinath guided the ball to slip. The experience of Badrinath was vital in Hyderabad’s resolve to take the first innings lead but it lost opener Tanmay Agarwal and B. Sandeep to allow Andhra dictate the situation.

The situation was redeemed by Anirudh and Himalay as they added 45 runs for the fifth wicket but a run out once left Hyderabad grieving. A direct hit by C.V. Stephen from mid-on left Himalay short of the crease with match referee Manu Nayyar reaching a decision after extended scrutiny of the replay. Himalay had faced 61 balls with three fours before he made a costly judgement. Anirudh, having faced 105 balls with two fours and a six, was occupying the crease in the company of K. Sumanth when bad light stopped play.

"It’s been an interesting day. We are confident of an outright win,” remarked Andhra seamer P. Vijay Kumar, who claimed two wickets. Hyderabad coach B. Arun described the day’s play as a “mix of good and bad for us. The pitch has been very sporting for both batsmen and bowlers. You have to pitch the ball in the right areas and apply yourself when batting. Such pitches are good for competitive cricket,” noted Arun.