Appanna triggers AP collapse

Sports Reporter

ANANTAPUR: A brilliant fightback by Karnataka bowlers in the last session reduced Andhra to 224 for nine at the end of the first's day play in the Elite Group `B' Ranji match at the RDT Sport Complex here on Monday. Andhra, which dominated the first two sessions, fell to the guiles of the 17-year-old left-arm spinner K.P. Appanna (five for 70) and medium pacer Vinay Kumar (2 for 34). A.S.K. Varma, however, remained unbeaten with 89.

Karnataka coach Venkatesh Prasad looked a relieved man as his decision to field after winning the toss went awry as the medium pacers Vinay and Akhil failed to take the advantage of the overcast conditions in the morning. Karnataka ensured the early exit of openers M.S.K. Prasad (27) and L.N. Prasad Reddy (24) but the 125-run stand third wicket partnership between A.S.K. Varma (89 batting 218b, 274m, 8x4, 1x6) and captain Y. Venugopala Rao (69, 130b, 158m, 8x4) sent shivers down the spine of the visitor's camp.

Varma and Venu used their feet beautifully to take toll of both short and overpitched deliveries. At tea, Andhra was comfortably placed at 164 for 2.

Joshi's strike

Karnakata skipper Yere Goud kept shuffling his bowlers in hope of a breakthrough, which finally came when the former international Sunil Joshi had Venu caught behind (three for 187) in the 80th over. Venu failed to gauge the bounce and sneaked the ball to Thilak Naidu. The exit of Venu literally opened the floodgates as six wickets fell in a span of 13 overs for just 37 runs.

Teasing flight

The Andhra middle order batsmen B. Sumanth, S. Arjun Kumar, RV Ch Prasad were unsuccessful in reading the flight of the wily Appanna and left giving catches to Akhil in the slip cordon. Lanky medium pacer Akhil, who had a disastrous day as a bowler, held on to five catches to turn the wheel of his team's fortunes. Incidentally, this is Appanna's first five-wicket haul.

There was something to cheer for the motley crowd as Shahabuddin and A.S.K. Varma clouted two huge sixes off Appanna in the 87th over.

The scores:

Andhra 1st innings: M.S.K. Prasad c B. Akhil b Stuart Binny 27, L.N. Prasad Reddy c B. Akhil b K.P. Appanna 24, A.S.K. Varma (batting) 89, Y. Venugopala Rao c Thilak Naidu b Sunil Joshi 69, B. Sumanth b B. Akhil b K.P. Appanna 0, S. Arjun Kumar c B. Akhil b K.P. Appanna 1, RV Ch Prasad c B. Akhil b K.P. Appanna 2, K.S. Shahabuddin lbw B. Vinay Kumar 9, Md Faiq c C. Raghu b B Vinay Kumar 0, Kalyan Krishna c B Akhil b Appanna 0; Extras (2lb, 1nb) 3: Total 224 for nine in 92.5 overs.

Fall of wickets: 1-40, 2-62, 3-187, 4-190, 5-198, 6-200, 7-223, 8-223, 9-224.

Karnataka bowling: Vinay Kumar 16-6-34-2, Akhil 13-4-33-0, Sunil Joshi 28-5-57-1, Binny 13-5- 24-1, Appanna 20-5-2-70-5, C Raghu 2-0-4-0.

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