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    Ranji Trophy: Rajasthan gain upper hand against Hyderabad

    The home team reduced Hyderabad to 160 for 5 at stumps after compiling 384 in their first innings.

    The home team reduced Hyderabad to 160 for 5 at stumps after compiling 384 in their first innings.

    Jaipur: Rajasthan reduced Hyderabad to 160 for 5 at stumps on day two, after compiling 384 in their first innings, to gain an upper hand in the match. Resuming from their overnight score of 274 for 5, the hosts lost three quick wickets in the first hour of day before Dishant Yagnik and Pankaj Singh stitched a 58-run for the ninth wicket to take Rajasthan to a very good total on a damp wicket.

    The first to go was Rashmi Ranjan Parida, fiddling at a ball from Ashish Reddy way outside the off stump. Reddy struck again in his next over by castling Deepak Chahar for a duck off an in-dipper. Rituraj Singh was streaky and was dismissed soon by offspinner Amol Shinde as he played down the wrong line to a ball which pitched on off stump and held its line. Yagnik, however, stood tall and took the attack to the opposition.

    He cut and pulled Anwar Ahmed for consecutive boundaries in the same over and caned Shinde over mid on to move into the 20s. He found an able partner in form of Pankaj who was more adventurous and bludgeoned a couple of huge sixes. He swatted Reddy for a straight six and later clattered legspinner Aakash Bhandari over long-on as the ball went out of the ground.

    Both batsmen compelled Hyderabad captain Akshath Reddy to put fielders at the boundary line; after that they nudged the ball around, mostly to midwicket and long-on, to fetch singles and doubles effortlessly. Rajasthan reached 350 in 111.2 overs. Yagnik brought up his half-century by working Shinde to short fine leg but he soon departed for 51. He tried to steer the ball to third man and was caught at first slip by Bavanaka Sandeep. Reddy snapped up his third five-wicket haul by claiming the last batsman Aniket Choudhary off the next ball. He dug in a short ball and Aniket was caught behind as the ball went up in the air after hitting the handle of the bat.

    Hyderabad’s openers, Akshath Reddy and Kolla Sumanth, were troubled by the fiery first spell by Pankaj and quite a few close lbw shouts were turned down by the umpires. They settled down after the surviving the first ten overs and played some fine shots. The captain produced a late cut and a cover drive off Rituraj to notch a couple of boundaries while Sumanth was strong behind the square on both sides and mustered runs with ease when the bowlers drifted slightly towards the leg side. At tea, Hyderabad were 90-0 in 25 overs.

    Sumanth was fortunate on two occasions as he was dropped by Vineet Saxena (second slip) and Parida (gully) respectively when he was batting on 18 and 43. He, however, couldn't kick on and was caught at third slip by Robin Bist as poked at the delivery from Chahar which was slanting across. His wicket at 91 triggered a stunning collapse and wickets fell in a heap. Akshath Reddy was cleaned up for 41 by Pankaj as the ball nipped back late. Sandeep's stay at the wicket was scratchy and Aniket nailed him for 11. He couldn't take his bat out of the way to a delivery which pitched slightly outside the off stump and straightened.

    Hanuma Vihari was in superb touch and unfurled a sparkling 38 off 40 balls. He played some delectable flicks and drives and infused zing in an otherwise tam innings but his impetuosity cost him his wicket. He tried to play a ball from Rituraj on the up but ended up giving a simple catch to the wicketkeeper . Though Rajasthan were extremely sloppy in the field and dropped as many as five catches, Hyderabad’s batsmen couldn't take the advantage. Bist spilled Sandeep when he had not opened his account but the left-hander fell soon to Rituraj for 12 as Sourabh Chauhan took a simple catch at cover. Parth Jhala (5) and Sandeep Ranjan (0) were at the crease at stumps.