Williams puts Baroda in charge
Baroda 191 for 2 (Williams 91*, Bilakhia 68) trail Hyderabad 261 (Teja 72, Manohar 71, Pai 62, Pathan 4-71) by 70 runs
Baroda wiped out Hyderabad with the new ball, restricting them to 261, before reaching a comfortable 191 for 2 at the end of the second day's play in Hyderabad. Irfan Pathan and Sumit Singh grabbed three wickets apiece with the new ball in nine overs to terminate Hyderabad's first innings, while Connor Williams pressed home the advantage with a gritty unbeaten 91.
There were no devils in the wicket but Hyderabad's inexperienced lower middle order collapsed against the seamers. While Irfan used the angle from round the stumps to bend the ball into the right-handers, Sunit Singh kept it straight and on the stumps.
Irfan was the first to strike, just four deliveries after the new ball was taken. He landed it on a length just outside off stump and shaped it in. Amol Shinde stabbed at it, bat away from the body, and the ball moved in through the gate. Encouraged by the wicket, Irfan repeated that line of attack and collected two more wickets - Habeeb Ahmed, the wicketkeeper, was cleaned up and Ashwin Yadav was trapped in front.
Sumit induced Anoop Pai, who had made a dogged 62, to chase a full delivery, while SM Shoaib scooped a catch to mid-on and Lalith Mohan was bowled, giving Sumit figures of 3 for 39. By folding up in 66 minutes for the addition of just 41 runs this morning, Hyderabad's middle and lower order undid all the good work of the top three, and handed over the initiative to Baroda.
Williams then led the reply with a composed knock. The highlight of the day was an absorbing post-lunch session when Pragyan Ojha, the left-arm spinner, asked a few uncomfortable questions of the batsmen. While the left-handed Williams countered him by stretching well forward and playing with the turn, the right-hand batsmen had more trouble.
Satyajit Parab had problems in reading the delivery from the bowler's hand and was a touch uncertain. Ojha kept teasing him with variations in flight and pace and it was just a matter of time before Parab drove one to short cover, where Shinde dived to his right to take a fine catch.
Azharuddin Bilakhia, the stocky No.3 batsman, had fewer problems than Parab but had his own share of play and misses. He was beaten by the turn while lunging forward but took care never to push away from the body. Williams, meanwhile, top-edged Ojha short of fine leg on a couple of occasions and slowly but surely the duo survived that period.
Soon Bilakhia got into his stride, got his feet moving and struck a few confident boundaries. He brought up the team's hundred with a sweep off Mohan, the other left-arm spinner in the Hyderabad team, before drilling another drive through cover. He then produced the shot of the day when he skipped down the track and caressed Ojha inside-out through covers before Ojha got his man, caught at silly point.
Ashwin, the nippy mediumpacer who had impressed Irfan earlier, cut the old ball well to produce two nicks late in the day from Williams, but both went through the slip cordon. Soon Williams deposited Ojha over long-on and the game had begun to slip away from Hyderabad. Barring a stunning collapse, Baroda are on track to earn a healthy first-innings lead and press on for an outright win.
Sriram Veera is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo