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The Bulletin by Sriram Veera in Hyderabad
November 26, 2007
Baroda 479 for 6 dec (Williams 153, Solanki 78, Shah 68, Mohan 4-132) drew with Hyderabad 261 (Teja 72, Manohar 71, Pai 62, Pathan 4-71, Singh 3-39) and 272 for 4 (Yadav 101*, Shinde 57, Teja 54)
Arjun Yadav played a captain's knock, hitting his second Ranji Trophy hundred, to steer Hyderabad to a draw against Baroda. The visitors entered the final day eyeing the six points from an outright win but had to settle for three - and concede one to Hyderabad - after being thwarted by a 135-run partnership between Yadav and Amol Shinde, on a wicket that didn't throw up any demons.
Hyderabad, resuming at 40 for 1, suffered an early setback when Irfan Pathan dismissed Anoop Pai in the sixth over of the day and Baroda nearly gained the upper hand when Irfan forced Yadav, yet to open his account, to play a low square-drive to backward point, where Azhar Bilakhia failed to hold on.
Unfazed, Yadav drove Yusuf Pathan over long-on for an effortless six to get off the mark and watched the contest of the morning unfold at the other end: Irfan v Ravi Teja.
It was compelling stuff, attack and counter, bluff and double-bluff. As he had done nearly throughout the game, Irfan attacked from round the stumps. Teja drove one on the up through cover before creaming a fuller delivery through the same region. Irfan shaped one away from a length and Teja partly-edged and partly-steered it to third man boundary. Next, a fuller delivery that moved away late, drawing a false stroke from Teja but the ball flashed between first slip and a wide second. Irfan went on to beat Teja a couple more times but, just when the battle was getting interesting, Teja fell to Yosuf, flicking a flighted delivery into midwicket's hands.
Yadav dropped anchor but played a few neat strokes. There was a caressed square-drive off mediumpacer Sumit Singh but he was generally cautious against the quicker bowlers. However, he didn't hesitate to step out against the spinners - Rajesh Pawar and Yusuf - and drive them over mid-on and mid-off.
Shinde followed a similar routine, lofting Pawar over mid-off before driving him inside-out over extra cover. Runs came briskly in the first session but the pace slackened in the second as Shinde too, dropped anchor. At one point, he took 41 balls to move from 36 to 37 and Hyderabad similarly inched to safety with 67 runs in 27 wicket-less overs in that session. Both Yadav and Shinde stretched well forward to smother any turn and were very composed in the middle until Shinde swiped one straight to midwicket in the first over after tea.
There was to be no further alarm, only entertainment, as the debutant Mohammad Shakeer, who in his first innings had tried to hit nearly every ball, lit up the stadium with a few brave hits. He walked out without a helmet and swayed away as Irfan greeted him with a bouncer. There were a couple of slashes and misses before he drove one through cover and, when Irfan bounced at him again, he just swatted it past mid-on. He then turned his attention to Yusuf, swinging him over deep midwicket and then one bounce over long-on boundary and topped it with a paddle scoop almost over the 'keeper's head.
The game was going nowhere, though, and when Yadav, who had recorded 2500 first-class runs when he reached 73, got to his hundred with a lofted shot over mid-on, both captains agreed to call it off.
What's wrong with their cricket? Well, what isn't?