When Haryana won the toss, skipper Mohit Sharma had no hesitation to put Andhra in. The decision had been taken a day ago, not because the wicket was going to offer much for the bowlers, but because the team management had faith in its bowling attack that featured four seamers and a leg-spinner.
The bowlers didn’t let the team down, as they did a good job of restricting Andhra to 217 for six at stumps on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Group C match at the Wankhede Stadium here on Thursday.
The spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal, may have taken more wickets – three of them – but the pace bowlers ensured that Andhra could never relax.
Seamer Ashish Hooda gave a good start to Haryana, his rising delivery forcing K. S. Bharat to hand a catch to Himanshu Rana at short leg in the fifth over of the day. But the other opener D. B. Prasanth Kumar - Andhra’s most consistent batsman this season - and captain Hanuma Vihari played sensibly to take their team to lunch without any further damage.
Just when it seemed the skipper was finally going to play a significant knock, he left a ball from seamer Sanjay Pahal that came sharply in and lost his off stump. He had made 62 (163min, 120b, 10x4).
Then, Chahal’s leg-spin began to bother Andhra’s batsmen. K. Sreekanth fell lbw to Chahal to leave Andhra at 120 for three. D.B. Ravi Teja, fresh from his twin fifties from the match against Jammu & Kashmir at the nearby Brabourne Stadium a few days ago, helped put on a rescue act, giving solid company to Prasanth.
The duo put on 60 for the fourth wicket, before Chahal struck again.
A fine, diving catch in the slips by Mohit ended the resistance of Prasanth after a battling 74 (296min, 182b, 9x4). It was this third fifty of the season and he indeed sounded disappointed, at the end of the day, that he could not carry on.
“I should have gone on to make a hundred,” he rued. “But it was not easy batting against Haryana, which probably has the best attack in this group of Ranji Trophy. All their four seamers were bowling quickly and the spinner was getting some assistance from the wicket, too.”
Haryana coach Vijay Yadav said he was happy that the bowlers gave him six wickets on the first day. “It is a good wicket to bat on,” he said. “So getting six wickets for a little over 200 after winning the toss is not at all bad,” he said.
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