Ranji Trophy: Shamsher century provides resistance for Services

Resuming at its overnight score of 77 for no loss, Services finished the third day of its Ranji Trophy Group C tie at 360 for nine in reply to Hyderabad’s first innings score of 580 for nine declared. Shamsher Yadav held Services' innings for much of the time with a knock of 104.

Shamsher Yadav scored his third century for Services this season.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

Twenty-one-year-old Shamsher Yadav’s brilliant century (104, 196b, 13 x 4, 1 x 6) helped Services put up a resistance in the first innings against Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy Group C match at Sharad Pawar Cricket Academy Ground (BTC) here on Tuesday.

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Resuming at its overnight score of 77 for no loss, Services finished the day at 360 for nine in reply to Hyderabad’s first innings score of 580 for nine declared. It was a day which tested the skills of Hyderabad bowlers as the pitch continued to be a sporting one with only the odd ball kicking off abruptly.

Hyderabad bowlers were good in brief spells – first in the morning when pacers Ravi Kiran and Mohammad Siraj provided the early breakthroughs.

For Services, the first act of defiance came via wicketkeeper-batsman Nakul Verma (90, 178b, 13 x 4) who demonstrated that there was no devil in the pitch and that circumspection was the key to succeed. He was unfortunate to miss out on a thoroughly deserving century when he was trapped lbw by leg-spinner Akash Bhandari.

Wagging tail

Then, the technically correct Shamsher held centre stage and put on an 83-run stand with the free-stroking Rahul Singh (49, 75b, 9 x 4) for the fifth wicket, which further dented the hopes. After the tea break, pacers Ravi Kiran and left-armer Chama Milind looked lively and picked a wicket apiece but could not wrap up the lower order.

Ravi forced the dangerous-looking Rahul to snick behind and then Chama Milind trapped Vikas Hathwala lbw. But again Services strung together another useful partnership of 45 for the eighth wicket between Shamsher and the big-hitting and unorthodox Diwesh Pathania.

More importantly, Shamsher played on to complete what was a truly splendid century, his third of the season, under pressure facing a mammoth score.

But, to the dismay of his teammates, Shamsher failed to resist the temptation for an ambitious stroke only to be caught at deep cover off leg-spinner Akash Bhandari just before close of play.