Hyderabad was staring at another defeat and relegation when it finished the third day at 139 for seven, after conceding a lead of 61 runs to Vidarbha in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group match at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Friday.
Earlier, in reply to the home team’s first innings score of 272, Vidarbha, thanks to captain Faiz Fazal’s impressive knock (151, 258b, 19×4, 3×6) took the vital first innings lead to gain a psychological advantage.
But, once Fazal was dismissed, slashing left-arm pacer C. Milind to be caught at covers, the team was eventually bowled out for 333.
For Hyderabad, 19-year-old left-arm spinner Aniket Reddy displayed great temperament on debut to return with a creditable four-wicket haul.
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And, when the second essay started, much was expected from the seasoned opening pair of captain Tanmay Agarwal and Akshath Reddy. But, they disappointed again.
Akshath failed to read the late swing to be bowled by pacer Aditya Thakare and Tanmay played an irresponsible stroke to step out for a lofted stroke only to be bowled by left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate, who was easily the pick of the bowlers.
Even young, debutant Prateek Reddy was a culprit of an avoidable rush of blood – stepping out to loft off-break bowler Akshay Wakhare over mind-on only end up with a leading edge to the fielder at point.
Though Rahul Buddhi showed his free-stroking ability hitting two huge sixes off Sarwate in one over, he gave an impression of playing a T-20 game. Looked in too much of a hurry before flicking one from Sarwate straight to short-leg fielder.
Then, Mehdi Hasan joined wicketkeeper batsman K. Sumanth and the former displayed his defiance again with a mix of big strokes and tight defence before being trapped lbw by Wakhare.
All hopes of Hyderabad now rest on how well the in-form Sumanth, who showed his class lofting Sarwate over long-on for a six and whipped to the mid-wicket fence in the same over, farms the strike tomorrow with the tail to extend the lead and give the bowlers something to fight back.