Ranji Trophy: Second-innings fightback gives Goa hope

Goa’s fightback featuring Saurabh Bandekar’s 75 (9 x 4, 3 x 6), Snehal Kauthankar’s 61 (3 x 4, 2 x 6) and Ritu Raj Singh’s cameo (33, 2 x 4, 3 x 6) saw it register 276 in its second innings against Andhra in its Ranji Trophy group C match at the Railway Stadium on Wednesday.

Goa's Saurabh Bandekar (right) top-scored for it with a forceful knock of 75 that contained nine boundaries and three maximums.   -  v. v. subrahmanyam

Goa’s fightback featuring Saurabh Bandekar’s 75 (9 x 4, 3 x 6), Snehal Kauthankar’s 61 (3 x 4, 2 x 6) and Ritu Raj Singh’s cameo (33, 2 x 4, 3 x 6) saw it register 276 in its second innings against Andhra in its Ranji Trophy group C match at the Railway Stadium on Wednesday. Chasing 233 for victory, the southern side replied with 99 for three, as play was suspended and stopped due to poor light 23 and three minutes respectively from the close.

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Under half an hour into the day, Goa’s first innings’ top scorer Sumiran Amonkar, attempting to heave B. Siddharth out of the ground, lofted a catch instead to Ch. Stephen at cow corner. Non-striker Swapnil Asnodkar lived dangerously, cutting once too often on a turning track before paying the price, edging Bhargav Bhatt to first slip Hanuma Vihari.

The rivalry of the captains seemed alive and well as Vihari squeezed a snick out of his counterpart Sagun Kamat to lone slip Ravi Teja, just after the fateful first hour was over. Stability came through the fourth wicket pair of Kauthankar and Misal, the former pulling and sweeping to a 77-ball 61.

The urge for a big hit got the better of him when he holed out to long off Ricky Bhui off Bhatt. The southpaw switched from station to church ends and vice-versa to unsettle the batsmen but had to share the spoils with Siddharth. The bearded offie’s yelp of delight was understandable after dislodging Samar Dubhashi’s bail.

Goa went to lunch at 154 for five but its condition worsened after the meal. Two wickets fell soon with just as many runs added. Bhui’s direct hit from point caught a fairly well-settled Misal out of bounds. Exactly an over later, short mid-wicket Vihari spotting Jakati venturing out, threw the ball to stumper Bharat who did the needful.

Ritu Raj came as remedy for Goa’s sagging fortunes, off the very next ball lofting a six over long off and then over the mid wicket fence. As if taking the cue, his partner Bandekar slammed a big one into the trees behind long on.

Stephen, pressed into service to stem the flow of sixes, stopped the tailenders in their tracks. Ritu Raj drove against the pace and skied a catch to widish mid-on. His rearguard action was taken forward by Bandekar, who posted his half century not much later.