Ranji Trophy: Hanuma Vihari provides Andhra first innings lead

Bolstered by G. Hanuma Vihari’s unbeaten double century (233, 482 balls, 11x4, 4x6) Andhra declared its first innings at 524 for six a little over half an hour past lunch on the third day of its Ranji Trophy Group 'C' match against Tripura at the Sardar Patel stadium on Tuesday.

G. Hanuma Vihari

Hanuma Vihari's innings of 233 included 17 fours and four sixes.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

Bolstered by G. Hanuma Vihari’s unbeaten double century (233, 482 balls, 11x4, 4x6) Andhra declared its first innings at 524 for six a little over half an hour past lunch on the third day of its Ranji Trophy Group 'C' match against Tripura at the Sardar Patel stadium on Tuesday. The southern side had set itself apart by 353 runs on the first innings aggregates.

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Against the odds of a largely unresponsive surface and a mounting rival total, Tripura did well in dealing a couple of blows to Andhra’s batting dominance in the early hours. Mura Singh operated from the temple end and Gurinder Singh from the pavilion side and the speed-spin combo brought the eastern side dividends.

Beating overnight batsman Ravi Teja a few times with the arm ball, Gurinder lured him to loft. What would otherwise have been a six was held by Bunti Roy with his back to the ropes. A.G. Pradeep was caught behind by Smit off Mura Singh’s outgoing ball.

Ashwin Hebbar smote Gurinder to the long off fence and for a six over mid-wicket off successive deliveries. The southpaw exacted revenge soon after, trapping the youngster in front. Parked at 198 during lunch, two singles subsequently saw the Andhra skipper register his double century. As if a load had been lifted off his shoulders, Vihari hoisted the spinners into the sight-screen, over long-on and off in an obvious bid to fatten the team total.

Paidikalva Vijay Kumar was again low on luck, several of his deliveries hissing past the bat or stumps, when Tripura began its second innings. Young Sashikaran struck first when Smit Patel’s miscued off-drive was held by extra cover Ch. Stephen. At the stroke of tea, substitute fielder Sreekanth Koripalli at second slip showed remarkable reflexes, latching on to a chance flying to the cordon from Bishal Ghosh’s thick edge off Sashikanth.

Vijay’s fortunes took a turn for the better when he switched ends, rapping Nirupam Chowdhary on the pads. The one-down bat had cracked a 51-ball 43 that contained a straight-driven six and eight boundaries. The fourth wicket pair of Yashpal Singh (46 n.o., 7x4, 1x6) and Abhijit Dey (31 n.o., 6x4) took Tripura to 165 for three at the close.