Ranji Trophy: Kerala fights back with late wickets

Andhra, in reply to Kerala’s first innings score of 219, was 173 for six at stumps on the second day of the Group C Ranji Trophy match at the ACA stadium on Tuesday.

Basil Thampi Kerala Ranji Trophy

Basil Thampi was easily the most impressive bowler for Kerala and he got the ball to reverse swing in the last hour to dismiss both A.G. Pradeep (2) and Ashwin Hebber (0) cheaply.   -  Special Arrangement

Twin strikes by medium pacer Basil Thampi late in the day triggered a fightback from Kerala which prevented Andhra from taking complete control of the Group C Ranji Trophy match at the ACA stadium here on Tuesday.

>Scorecard

Andhra, in reply to Kerala’s first innings score of 219, was 173 for six at stumps on the second day. Andhra lost wickets in a hurry in the last hour of play to slump from a healthy 152 for two to 170 for six as both Basil Thampi and Rohan Prem took two wickets each.

Basil Thampi was easily the most impressive bowler for Kerala and he got the ball to reverse swing in the last hour to dismiss both A.G. Pradeep (2) and Ashwin Hebber (0) cheaply. Before that Rohan Prem played his part with the ball as he got the crucial breakthrough by inducing a false stroke from the solid D.B. Prasanth Kumar (61) and then had Ravi Teja (2) caught behind the wicket.

However, things were quite different when Andhra started its innings under better batting conditions. Bharat started with a flurry of boundaries off Sandeep Warrier to stamp his authority. Kerala’s opening bowlers Sandeep and Vinod Kumar were a little wayward but Basil Thampi was unlucky though he bowled his heart out to trouble the opening pair.

D.B. Prasanth Kumar dropped anchor while Bharat played the big shots whenever the opportunity came and the pair added 81 runs for the first wicket. Even as Kerala medium pacers leaked runs, Iqbal kept the Andhra batsmen on a tight leash and dried up the runs. Abdullah induced an edge from Bharat (54) which was snapped up by wicketkeeper Azharuddeen.

Captain Vihari (3) too left quickly but Prasanth and Ricky Bhul (47 batting) figured in a 63-run stand for the third wicket which restored Andhra’s supremacy.

Captain Rohan Prem, in a desperate move, brought himself on and Prasanth, who till then had played patiently for his 61, stepped out and missed the ball to be stumped by Azharuddeen. Ravi Teja’s hesitant prod resulted in another catch for Azharuddeen. Then Basil Thampi’s inspired spell further pushed Andhra back but Ricky Bhui, with unbeaten 47, will be the key man for Andhra to take the lead.

Earlier, left arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt took quick wickets to end Kerala Innings after Basil Thampi and Monish added useful 29 runs for the ninth wicket.