Hyderabad: Bavanaka Sandeep and A Ashish Reddy scored half centuries each to steer Hyderabad to 247 for six against Railways on the opening day of their Group A Ranji Trophy match here on Saturday. At stumps, Reddy was batting on 60 and giving him company at the other end was Amol Shinde on 26.
Even as Railways' bowlers managed to take as many as six wickets during the day, the hosts rode on fine contributions from their batsmen and a few good partnerships to end day one on a satisfying note. Opting to bat, Hyderabad did not have an ideal start as they lost two early wickets to be at 29 for two but opener Kolla Sumanth and Sandeep consolidated the innings.
The duo put on a solid 62-run stand for the third wicket before Sumanth fell for a well-made 45 off 123 balls, laced with seven boundaries. After Sumanth's dismissal, Sandeep continued in the able company of Syed Quadri (27) and together they shared a 67-run stand for the fourth wicket.
It was Murali Kartik who broke their partnership by sending back Sandeep for a 141-ball 68 that included six hits to the fence and a six. Sandeep's departure triggered a mini collapse as the hosts went on to lose two more wickets in quick succession.
From 158 for four, Hyderabad were suddenly reeling at 160 for six. However, Reddy and Shinde came to the team's rescue as they made sure that Hyderabad did not lose any more wicket on the day.
By the time stumps were drawn, they had already put on an unbeaten 87 runs together for the seventh wicket. For Railways, Kartik (2 for 60) and Karan Sharma (2 for 85) claimed two wickets each, while Sanjay Bangar and Shivakant Shukla took wicket apiece.
Brief scores: Hyderabad: 247 for six in 93 overs (Bavanaka Sandeep 68, Ashish Reddy not out 60; Murali Kartik 2 for 60).
Gujarat vs Punjab:
In Valsad, struggling India spinner Harbhajan Singh regained some of the lost touch with a three-wicket haul as Punjab restricted Gujarat to 261 for nine.
Not only Harbhajan but paceman Sandeep Sharma and Siddarth Kaul also took three wickets each after Punjab opted to field at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium. None of the Gujarat batsmen could score a half-century but some gritty batting by the lower-order players ensured that the hosts have something on the board to fight for.
At the top, opener Samit Gohel (41) and Manprit Juneja (42) batted well but Harbhajan caused a middle-order collapse by dismissing Gohel, rival skipper Parthiv Patel (22) and Y Venugopal Rao (13).
Gohel and Juneja had added 79 runs for the second wicket when Kaul had Juneja caught behind for his second wicket. Kaul had earlier provided the first breakthrough by bowling opener Smit Patel (18) Harbhajan then sent back Gohel and Patel and later Rao.
From a comfortable 107 for two, Gujarat were struggling at 173 for seven but Jasel Karia (40) and Rush Kalaria (40) rescued the side with a 84-run stand. Kaul broke the partnership and took his third wicket when he had Karia caught behind. Punjab stumper Uday Kaul took four catches behind the wicket.
Brief Scores: Gujarat 1st innings: 261 for nine in 90 overs. (M Juneja 42, S Gohel 41; Sandeep Sharma 3 for 40, Harbhajan Singh 3 for 61).
Rajasthan vs Saurashtra:
In Jaipur, a brilliant ton by former India Under-19 captain Ashok Menaria and a fighting half-century by opener Vineet Saxena saved Rajasthan the blushes as the hosts reached 268 for nine.
Saurashtra won the toss and elected to field on a lively wicket at the K L Saini stadium in Mansarovar. Medium pacers Jaidev Unadkat (3 for 54) and Sidhartha Trivedi (3 for 51) struck regularly but a fine 165-ball 103 by southpaw Menaria and an equally impressive 71 by Saxena provided some respectability to Rajasthan's first innings total at stumps.
Wicket-keeper Dishant Yagnik (24) was at the crease when stumps were drawn for the day after the fall of Aniket Choudhury (0) on the second ball of the 87th over. Pacer Sandip Maniar gave the first breakthrough to the visitors by castling Sourabh Chouhan (2) in the fourth over.
Skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar (22) resisted for a while but was caught by rival skipper Sagar Jogiyani off Trivedi. It was then left to Menaria and Saxena to revive the team's sagging fortunes who put up a brave fight with their century-plus stand.
Both added 102 runs for the third-wicket partnership before Saxena was trapped in front of the stumps by Unadkat.
The right-handed batsman struck nine fours and a six in his 149-ball stay at the crease. Menaria then combined well with Puneet Yadav (22) and took the team's total past 200-run mark.
Yadav was caught by Jogiyani off Chirag Mani as Rajasthan slumped to 211 for five. Menaria completed his first century of the season at the team score of 234 for five but soon fell to Unadkat caught by Shitanshu Kotak. He struck 17 fours.
Brief scores: Rajasthan 268 for 9 (Maneria 103, Saxena 71, Unadkat 3 for 54, Siddharth Trivedi 3 for 51) against Saurashtra.
Mumbai vs Madhya Pradesh:
In Indore, opener Kaustubh Pawar defended doggedly to crawl to 89 as Mumbai reached 235 for five at stumps against Madhya Pradesh.
Pawar carried his bat through the day facing 270 balls hitting 14 boundaries in the process. Madhya Pradesh medium fast bowler Ishwar Pandey was the most successful bowler as he grabbed four for 28 in 19 overs. The other wicket was taken by seamer Anand Rajan.
The most important partnership was between Pawar and all-rounder Ankeet Chavan who remained undefeated on 36 and added 80 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket stand after Mumbai were reduced to 155 for five by Pandey and Rajan.
The other significant partnership for Mumbai was the 68-run stand for the fourth wicket between Pawar and glovesman Aditya Tare, who scored 42. Tare hit eight fours during his 89-ball knock.
Prolific opener Wasim Jaffer and one drop batsman Hiken Shah were dismissed cheaply by Pandey caught by Harpreet Singh in the slips. In-form Abhishek Nayar banged six boundaries in his 28 but couldn't convert his start into a big knock as both him and the inconsistent Surya Kumar Yadav were snapped by Naman Ojha off Pandey's bowling.
Brief scores: Mumbai 235 for 5 (Kaustubh Pawar 89 no, Aditya Tare 42, Ishwar Pandey 4 for 28) vs Madhya Pradesh.
(With inputs from agencies)