November 25, 2000

Andhra tail pegs back Tamil Nadu to just two points

Andhra managed to hold off Tamil Nadu's desperate quest for the first innings lead, closing at 228/9 on the final day of their South Zone Ranji Trophy match at the Guru Nanak College ground in Chennai. Since the first innings of both teams was not completed, Tamil Nadu and Andhra had to be content with two points apiece. Incredibly if Andhra had lost their last wicket, they would have been credited with an extra point! The result leaves Tamil Nadu at second place in the zonal standings on 20 points, with one match left, while Andhra are currently placed fifth on 13 points.

Resuming at 25 without loss, Andhra openers Prasad Reddy and Amit Pathak were separated when Sadagopan Mahesh got one through the latter's defences with the score on 46. Tamil Nadu tightened their grip on the first innings lead when they took out three wickets at 88 either side of the lunch interval. Five runs later, Gnaneswara Rao deserted his elder brother Venugopala Rao to leave Andhra at the perilous state of 93/5.

Venugopala Rao and Faiz Ahmed now put up a sturdy fightback, adding 109 for the sixth wicket and more importantly using up two and a quarter hours in the process. Faiz was run out for 51 (111 balls, 5 fours) and eight overs later, at 214, Rao joined him in the dressing room, having topscored with 59 (146 balls, 5 fours, 1 six). With almost nine overs left, Tamil Nadu needed just three more wickets. Leg spinner Balaji Rao delivered the first of those, taking out Vatekar for his third scalp and wicket keeper Reuben Paul's fourth dismissal. But Andhra's ninth wicket pair managed to hold out until the last ball of the last over of the day, bowled by Thiru Kumaran when Sahabuddin was caught at point.