Bowlers dominated the proceedings on Wednesday, thus setting up an interesting last day’s play, of Hyderabad’s Ranji Trophy Group C game against Chhattisgarh at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel Stadium here.
Eighteen wickets tumbled for just 178 runs on a surface that continued to assist bowlers, especially pacers, on the third day.
Despite losing wickets up front, Hyderabad’s tail led by Akash Bhandari ensured it stands a chance of earning six points from the game.
At the end of the penultimate day, Hyderabad was 115 for nine, with an overall advantage of 278.
C.V. Milind started the day delivering a double blow to Chhattisgarh, which had resumed on 124 for one.
The Hyderabad left-arm seamer saw the back of Abhimanyu Chauhan off the second ball of the day, thanks to a brilliant catch at gully by B. Sandeep.
Three balls later, he forced Amandeep Khare to nick one to ’keeper Habeeb Ahmed.
An out-of-sorts middle-order could not recover from thereon as the Hyderabad pace trio maintained the pressure created by Milind.
The first session saw Hyderabad pick up seven wickets for just 39 runs, with leggie Akash Bhandari accounting for Manoj Singh at the stroke of lunch.
Bhandari wiped off the tail off just 22 balls after the break.
Once Hyderabad skipper S. Badrinath opted to bat rather than enforcing the follow-on, Pankaj Rao and Abhishek Tamrakar took a cue from their Hyderabad counterparts.
Pankaj cleaned up the openers, including Benjamin Thomas who partnered Akshath Reddy in place of Tanmay Agarwal, who was taken to hospital for a precautionary scan after receiving a blow on his helmet while fielding at short-leg.
Tamrakar got the prize scalp of Badrinath, whose extravagant drive resulted in Ashutosh Singh latching on to a sharp catch at point.
The wicket opened the floodgates as Hyderabad was reduced to 68 for eight from 34 for one.
Bhandari and Mohammad Siraj then added 34 runs for the ninth wicket before the latter edged Pankaj to ’keeper Manoj.
Hyderabad — 1st innings: 351.
Chhattisgarh — 1st innings: Sahil Gupta lbw b Siraj 55, Abhimanyu Chauhan c Sandeep b Milind 55, Sumit Ruikar c Ahmed b Milind 6, Amandeep Khare c Ahmed b Milind 0, Ashutosh Singh lbw b Siraj 17, Mohammad Kaif b Hasan 11, Avnish Singh Dhaliwal c Thomas b Hassan 1, Manoj Singh c Ahmed b Bhandari 1, Abhyuday Kant Singh c & b Bhandari 22, Abhishek Tamrakar c Badrinath b Bhandari 0, Pankaj Rao (not out) 8; Extras (lb-6, w-6): 12; Total (in 85.1 overs): 188.
Fall of wickets: 1-121, 2-124, 3-124, 4-132, 5-152, 6-156, 7-157, 8-163, 9-169.
Hyderabad bowling: Ravi Kiran 19-10-27-0, C.V. Milind 22-11-47-3, Mohammad Siraj 21-9-36-2, Mehdi Hassan 15-6-39-2, Akash Bhandari 8.1-1-27-3.
Hyderabad — innings: Benjamin Thomas c Kaif b Pankaj 19, Akshath Reddy b Pankaj 4, S. Badrinath c Ashutosh b Tamrakar 11, B. Sandeep c Manoj b Tamrakar 7, Tanmay Agarwal b Pankaj 0, Mehdi Hassan c Kaif b Tamrakar 4, Habeeb Ahmed c Chauhan b Ruikar 17, Akash Bhandari (batting) 29, C.V. Milind c Manoj b Tamrakar 0, Mohammad Siraj c Ashutosh b Pankaj 12, Ravi Kiran (batting) 0; Extras (b-4, lb-4, nb-4): 12; Total (for nine wickets in 47 overs): 115.
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-34, 3-34, 4-34, 5-39, 6-67, 7-68, 8-68, 9-104.
Chhattisgarh bowling: Pankaj Rao 16-6-37-4, Abhyuday Kant Singh 10-3-18-0, Abhishek Tamrakar 10-4-19-2, Sumit Ruikar 10-2-33-1, Amandeep Khare 1-1-0-0.