Hyderabad grabbed a slender first innings lead of three runs against Assam on the second day on Wednesday, even as the four-day Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium seemed to be heading for an outright result here.
Resuming at the overnight score of 78 for three, the home team scored 208 thanks primarily to southpaw Rohit Rayudu’s gritty knock (60, 169b, 6x4) and useful contributions from Buddhi Rahul (35, 71b, 6x4) and debutant Bhagath Varma (46, 60b, 4x4, 3x6). This was after Assam bowlers put on a splendid show in the morning session.
A confident Bhagath farmed the strike beautifully and also hit some lusty blows to achieve the first objective with a crucial 37-run stand for the last wicket with Kartikeya Kak.
A fine spell by Riyan Parag (four for 48) ensured that Hyderabad didn’t run away with a big lead. Sticking to the basics with a good line and length, he made the batters hurry up frequently.
In the second essay, Assam suffered early setbacks losing opener Rahul Hazarika (5) and captain Kunal Saikia (8) cheaply by the 10th over.
Then, it was a one-man show by the enterprising Riyan Parag (78, 28b, 8x4, 6x6), who batted as if his team was chasing a T-20 target, treating both pacers and spinners alike with some clean hitting.
Hyderabad bowlers were clueless when he was at the crease during the 101-run stand for the third wicket with Rishav Das (34, 47b, 6x4).
It took a superb catch in the deep by Rohit Rayudu, who ran from long-on to deep mid-wicket to latch on to a difficult chance, just inches off the ground, off pacer Ravi Teja to send back Parag.
This brought life into Hyderabad camp as soon Assam lost three more wickets, with off-spinner Bhagath Varma chipping in with two.
Assam finished the day 179 ahead with four wickets in hand and the match heading for a possible finish by tomorrow itself.