Ranji Trophy: Bandeep frustrates Andhra

It had looked like Andhra would close the day with the loss of only one wicket, but, with just a couple of overs left for the day, it lost its in-form opener D.B. Prashanth Kumar, whose off bail was dislodged by off-spinner Parvez Rasool. Much to the relief of the team, its captain Hanuma Vihari was still at the wicket though, unbeaten on 16.

Bhargav Bhatt (left) and D. Siva Kumar took four wickets each for Andhra against Jammu & Kashmir.   -  P.K Ajith Kumar

Andhra must have begun the second day with hopes of taking Jammu & Kashmir’s four remaining wickets before lunch itself. But, Bandeep Singh and Ram Dayal refused to oblige.

> Scorecard

The duo ensured that their team posted a decent first innings total in the Ranji Trophy Group C match at the Brabourne Stadium here on a warm Friday. In reply, Andhra was 72 for 2 at stumps.

It had looked like Andhra would close the day with the loss of only one wicket, but, with just a couple of overs left for the day, it lost its in-form opener D.B. Prashanth Kumar, whose off bail was dislodged by off-spinner Parvez Rasool. Much to the relief of the team, its captain Hanuma Vihari was still at the wicket though, unbeaten on 16.

He had come in after K.S. Bharath, the first wicket-keeper to score a triple hundred in the history of Ranji Trophy, fell during an impressive spell of seam bowling from Umar Nazir. The opener was looking in fine touch too, stroking handsomely; he had driven the first ball of the innings, bowled by Saimulla Beigh, through the offside in glorious fashion.

When he was at the wicket, Andhra was scoring at nearly six an over. That was in sharp contrast to the rate at which J&K made its runs.

J&K laboured on at a run-rate of little over two, but that was also because of some tight bowling by Andhra. “Their bowlers gave little to us,” said Bandeep, who held the second half of the J&K innings together with a patient 63 (325min, 201b, 6x4). “Seamer P. Vijay Kumar was bowling like a machine and spinner Bhargav Bhatt too was very accurate.”

Bhatt, who bowled 59 overs, and medium-pacer D. Siva Kumar took four wickets apiece. Bhatt admitted that J&K scored more than what his team was hoping to in the first innings.

“But Bandeep batted with a lot of patience,” said the left-arm bowler. “And the wicket wasn’t as helpful for the bowlers as it was on the first day.”

Andhra had begun the second day well though, with Siva Kumar getting Punit Bisht caught behind. J&K slumped to 221 for seven, after resuming 205 for six. But, Ram Dayal decided to match Bandeep in patience.

Their partnership for the eighth wicket raised 73 in 34.4 overs. The next two days would tell us how crucial those runs were.

Other matches (Group C):

> Chhattisgarh v Haryana

> Goa v Services

> Himachal Pradesh v Tripura

> Hyderabad v Kerala

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