Captain Akshath Reddy and G.H. Vihari responded to the team’s call in style, cracking splendid centuries to help the home team stay on target to grab the first-innings lead against Mumbai in the four-day Ranji Trophy Group A match at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Monday.
In reply to Mumbai’s first innings score of 443, Hyderabad was sitting pretty at 423 for three at close of play on the third day.
Akshath Reddy (196, 426 balls, 27x4, 1x6) and Vihari (191, 331 balls, 18x4) put on a record partnership of 386 runs for the second wicket — the highest ever for any wicket in Ranji Trophy for Hyderabad. The previous best was 344 between M.V. Sridhar and Vivek Jaisimha against Andhra for the fourth wicket in 1993-94 at Gymkhana here.
Akshath and Vihari paced the innings beautifully on a batsman-friendly wicket treating the bowling on merit.
There were very few moments of despair for Mumbai like when substitute Sohail Shaikh dropped a straight forward chance at short-covers off left-arm spinner Ankit Chavan when Vihari was on 128. Then, captain Rohit Sharma was slow to react at first slip to latch on to a sharp edge off Akshat off Kshemal Waingankar.
But for this, the two displayed admirable patience, technique and wonderful stroke-selection to the dismay of the Mumbai attack which could have felt the absence of left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdullah.
With the pitch offering no assistance, it was clearly the turn of Mumbai bowlers to be at the receiving end.
And, there were moments of relief only towards the final moments when off-spinner Ankit Chavan lured Vihari into a half-hearted drive to take a simple return catch, and in the next over, off-spinner Ramesh Powar dismissed Akshath in a similar fashion.
Moments of frustration in the Mumbai camp were pretty obvious as the day progressed when the fielders had a quite few serious chats with the two umpires — especially once when a wide was called off Ankit Chavan.
The scores: Mumbai — 1 innings: 443.
Hyderabad — 1 innings: Abhinav Kumar lbw b Waingankar 13, Akshath Reddy c&b Powar 196, G.H. Vihari c&b Chavan 191, B. Sandeep (batting) 1, Syed Quadri (batting) 0, Extras (b-3, lb-6, nb-9, w-4) 22; Total (for three wickets in 135 overs) 423.
Fall of wickets: 1-36, 2-422, 3-422.
Mumbai bowling: Aavishkar Salvi 23-10-41-0, Kshemal Waingankar 21-6-51-1, Shardul Thakur 18-1-75-0, Ankeet Chavan 27-2-100-1, Ramesh Powar 28-4-101-1, Kasutubh Pawar 6-2-12-0, Rohit Sharma 2-0-9-0, Abhishek Nayar 10-3-25-0.
Keywords: Ranji Trophy Group A match