Hyderabad medium-pacer M.P. Arjun vindicated skipper V.V.S. Laxman’s decision to field by taking six for 47 as Punjab succumbed to 221 on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Super League match here on Tuesday. Hyderabad was 12 for one at close.
With all the wickets falling to medium-pacers on the first day, Punjab is hoping for its seamers to do the trick on the second day.
Arjun was rewarded for his disciplined bowling in seamer-friendly conditions. His subtle use of inswingers kept the batsmen guessing. The movement and deviation he managed off the pitch by hitting the right length proved most effective.
Coming as first-change in the ninth over, Arjun never let the batsmen breath easy and claimed the first six wickets to fall.
Opener Ravi Inder Singh, who scored 63 (11x4), crossed the 1000-run mark in his 25th innings in the National championship.
With the rain staying away, the ground staff did a spectacular job and made it possible for the match to start on time. Punjab openers Sunny Sohal and Ravi Inder denied the opposition any success for 50 minutes until Arjun provided the breakthrough.
He beat Sohal’s attempted for an ambitious drive and uprooted the off-stump. Four overs later, a change of ball turned the tide in Hyderabad’s favour. Arjun straightway had Uday Kaul, with Laxman bringing off a low catch at first slip, and trapped Taruwar Kohli leg-before in succession.
Ravi Inder and the experienced Pankaj Dharmani raised 55 runs for the fourth wicket, in a counter-attack in the hour before lunch, before Arjun removed the duo.
In the post-tea session, Arjun ended debutant Vishwas Bhalla’s innings and a retrieving stand 54-run stand involving skipper Ankur Kakkar. Ashwin Yadav removed Kakkar and fellow medium pacer Alfred Abosolom took the last three wickets.
Punjab 1st innings: S. Sohal b Arjun 7, Ravi Inder Singh c Rayudu b Arjun 63, U. Kaul c Laxman b Arjun 6, T. Kohli lbw b Arjun 0, P. Dharmani lbw b Arjun 23, A. Kakkar c Abhinav b Yadav 30, V. Bhalla lbw b Arjun 24, R. Sharma b Absolom 16, M.S. Gony b Absolom 20, Harmeet (not out) 10, L. Ablish lbw b Absolom 0, Extras (b-1, lb-4, nb-14, w-3) 22, Total (in 76.5 overs): 221.
Fall of wickets: 1-40, 2-48, 3-48, 4-107, 5-114, 6-168, 7-174, 8-196, 9-221.
Hyderabad bowling: Absolom 19.5-2-56-3, Abdul Khader 17-3-50-0, Arjun 19-3-47-6, A. Yadav 18-1-59-1, A. Quadri 3-0-4-0.
Hyderabad 1st innings: T. Suman (batting) 2, Abhinav Kumar lbw b Harmeet 9, A. Absolom (batting) 1, Total (for one wicket) 12.
Fall of wicket: 1-9.
Punjab bowling: Harmeet 2-1-2-1, Ablish 1-0-9-0, Gony 1-0-1-0.