Andhra pacers do Tripura in

Andhra’s Paidikalva Vijay Kumar (four for 56) and Ch. Stephen (three for 47) ran through Tripura after tea was extended on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy group C match at the Sardar Patel Stadium here on Sunday.

A week and a month short of a decade into the championship, Vijay made the milestone of claiming 200 wickets in the nation’s premier domestic tournament when he scalped rival skipper Mura Singh.

Andhra made the most out of choosing to field first. While seasoned spearhead Vijay kept the openers on a tight leash from the temple end, Ch. Stephen struck off the fourth over’s last ball from the pavilion side. Not only did the left arm paceman’s delivery rise, it curved in menacingly, taking Udiyan Ghosh’s inner edge to keeper K.S. Bharat.

Andhra’s move was further vindicated when Smit Patel was caught behind off Vijay. All at sea, incidentally on his home ground, Smit seemed foxed more by the bounce than the line. Nagging in accuracy, Vijay never wavered in length either, giving the batsmen very little leeway.

Unlucky on quite a few occasions to whiz past the blade, Vijay also accounted for Bishal Ghosh, Tripura’s top scorer until then, squeezing a snick out of the striker to Bharat’s gloves. Figures on that second spell from the pavilion end read 7-1-21-2. In between, Sashikanth trapped Nirupam Chowdhary in front. Tripura tottered to lunch at 85 for four. Switching ends benefitted Stephen too, who rapped Yashpal Singh on the pads. If Vijay’s in-cutters beat the bat time and again, he got Abhijit Dey with a ball that moved away from the batsman, Bharat perfectly in position to take the catch.

Poor batting

Rajat Dey slashed at Stephen shortly after but was neatly picked up by Ricky Bhui at point. Captain Mura Singh hardly led by example, the urge to cut loose getting the better of him and worst of all against a precision-driven Vijay. Substitute fielder Bandaru Ayyappa at mid-off leapt to hold one lofted drive but couldn’t quite come to grips with the sharp chance. Soon after Singh attempted another heave but this time was held by Sashikanth in the covers.

Two minutes silence was observed before play began in memory of K.R. Desai, founder Secretary of the Balsad District Cricket Association (BDCA) formed in the last 60s.

“It was through his pioneering efforts that where once was a pond, a cesspool and breeding ground for mosquitoes, there now stands this playing field with all modern amenities within the complex,” recalled Janakbhai D. Desai, the present secretary.

The scores:

Tripura — 1st innings: Bishal Ghosh c Bharat b Vijay 31, Udiyan Ghosh c Bharat b Stephen 0, Smit Patel c Bharat b Vijay 23, Nirupam Sen Chowdhary lbw b Sashikanth 11, Yashpal Singh lbw b Stephen 13, Abhijit Dey c Bharat b Vijay 13, Rajat Dey c Bhui b Stephen 10, Mani Sankar Mura Singh c b Vijay 0, Gurinder Singh c Bharat b Bhatt 13, Bunti Roy c Hebbar b Bhatt 34, Rana Dutta (not out) 16; Extras (lb-2, nb-4, w-1): 7; Total (in 58.1 overs): 171.

Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-54, 3-69, 4-69, 5-95, 6-101, 7-105, 8-107, 9-141.

Andhra bowling: P. Vijay Kumar 23-10-56-4, Ch. Stephen 18-4-47-3, Bhargav Bhatt 6.1-1-17-2, K.V. Sashikanth 9-1-44-1, Ashwin Hebbar 1-1-0-0, Ravi Teja 1-0-5-0.

Andhra — 1st innings: K.S. Bharat c Smit b Mura Singh 8, D.B. Prashanth Kumar (batting) 19, G. Hanuma Vihari (batting) 18; Extras (lb-1, w-1): 2; Total (for one wicket in 21 overs): 47.

Fall of wicket: 1-8.

Tripura bowling: Mura Singh 7-4-12-1, Rana Dutta 6-5-3-0, Gurinder Singh 2-0-12-0, Bunti Roy 4-1-11-0, Rajat Dey 2-0-8-0.

Toss: Andhra.

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