In an act of bravery, Andhra skipper Hanuma Vihari batted left-handed and defied the speedy Avesh Khan to add 26 runs for the 10th wicket to help the team reach 379 against Madhya Pradesh on the second day of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal here on Wednesday.
Andhra then reduced the defending champions to 144 for 4 at stumps to seize control of the match. Resuming at the overnight score of 262 for 2, things did not go Andhras way as the hard-working MP bowlers hit back after toiling hard during the massive 251-run stand between Ricky Bhui (149) and Karan Shinde (110). Shinde reached his ton off 254 balls even as Bhui kept going to frustrate the home teams bowling attack.
Medium-pacer Anubhav Agarwal (4 for 72) broke the partnership when he got Shinde to nick one to wicket-keeper Himanshu Mantri with the score at 323. Five runs later, Bhuis marathon innings ended when he was caught by Saransh Jain in the covers off Agarwal.
The MP bowlers then got into the act and struck at regular intervals to leave Andhra at 353 for 9 when Vihari walked in to bat. Batting left-handed after injuring his left hand wrist, the Andhra captain managed to hit a couple of boundaries to make sure the team total swelled to 379. He batted with only one hand.
He was dismissed LBW by Jain for 27. He had retired hurt on Tuesday on 16 after being hit by a bouncer from Avesh Khan.
Viharis brave effort was reminiscent of his heroics in the Sydney Test against Australia in January 2021. Along with Ravichandran Ashwin, Vihari who had a hamstring injury, defied the Aussie bowlers for close to four hours to deny the opposition a win.
Previously, Sunil Gavaskar in a Ranji Trophy match in 1982 vs Karnataka, batted left-handed to counter Raghu Ram Bhat, a left-arm spinner. Englands Joe Root batted left-handed during the first Test against Pakistan last month in Rawalpindi. In batting-friendly conditions, Root switched to a left-handed mode while batting against right-arm spinner Zahid Mahmood for the first two deliveries of his sixth over. But batting one-handed at No.11 with a broken wrist last happened when West Indies Malcolm Marshall had injured his left wrist.
Earlier, the Madhya Pradesh innings got off to a solid start with opening batters Mantri and Yash Dubey putting on 42 runs. K V Sasikanth (2/37) delivered the first strike for Andhra when he had Dubey caught by C R Gnaneshwar. Fellow opener Mantri was dismissed by Prithvi Raj (1/7). Shubham Sharma (51) and the in-form Rajat Patidar (20) added 42 runs for the third wicket and looked to be in control.
Nitish Kumar Reddy castled Patidar to strike a huge blow for Andhra. Skipper Aditya Srivastava (20 batting) and Anubhav Agarwal (0) were at the crease when stumps were drawn with MP trailing by 235 runs.
For Andhra, Sasikanth picked up two wickets while Y Prithvi Raj and Nitish Kumar Reddy got a wicket each.
Brief scores: Andhra 379 all out in 127.1 overs (Ricky Bhui 149, Karan Shinde 110, Anubhav Agarwal 4/72) vs Madhya Pradesh 144 for 4 in 41 overs (Shubham Sharma 51).
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