Madhya Pradesh’s spirited bowling comeback helped it neutralise the effect of Andhra’s first-innings lead to set itself a target of 245 in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Thursday.
Andhra’s fortunes dwindled with the setting sun on Day 3 as openers Yash Dubey and Himanshu Mantri lifted Madhya Pradesh to 58 for no loss at stumps, 187 runs away from a semifinal spot.
Andhra had strolled to lunch after left-arm seamer Prithvi Raj Yarra’s maiden First Class fifer (5/26) folded Madhya Pradesh for 228, earning it a 151-run lead. Aditya Shrivastava’s men could only manage 84 runs for the loss of six wickets in the session.
While Yarra reduced Madhya Pradesh to 179 for eight, a vital 48-run ninth-wicket partnership between Avesh Khan and Kumar Kartikeya denied Andhra a massive lead.
It later took seven Andhra batters to overhaul the 48-run mark in the second-innings.
Riding on the positivity of his 36-ball knock, Avesh removed Andhra openers C.R. Gnaneshwar and Abhishek Reddy within two overs in the second session. Left-arm spinner Kartikeya held one end while Gourav Yadav replaced Avesh after his six-over spell.
Hobbling in with an injured knee, Gourav snatched three wickets in four overs as Kartikeya removed first-innings centurion Ricky Bhui for one. Ashwin Hebbar (35) offered a fight but fell on the last ball before Tea after a hapless debate with the umpire for his dismissal at first-slip.
Avesh added two quick wickets to his tally after the break, forcing another dramatic cameo from the injured Hanuma Vihari.
Walking in at No. 11 with his forearm fracture, a left-handed Vihari smacked off-spinner Saransh Jain over mid-on for four and backed it up with an audacious reverse sweep to the deep cover fence. Brittle defences eventually gave away when Jain castled Vihari on 15, limiting Andhra to its lowest total this season.
Andhra attempted to exploit the escalating turn with left-arm spinner Lalith Mohan in the evening. However, Dubey and Mantri watchfully ticked off each run.