Having retired from international cricket only a few months back, VVS Laxman on Saturday struck his 55th first-class ton to guide Hyderabad to 341 against Madhya Pradesh on the second day of their Ranji Trophy Group A match against Madhya Pradesh, in Hyderabad.
Nine days after his 38th birthday, skipper Laxman played a sedate knock of 120 runs, laced with 14 fours and one six, to put his team in a commanding position after they opted to bat at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal.
In reply, Madhya Pradesh were left in dire straits as they finished the day's play at 44 for three, having lost both their openers, Naman Ojha (17) and Satyam Choudhary (5), and rookie batsman Zafar Ali (2) cheaply.
At stumps, skipper Devendra Bundela (11 not out) and Udit Birla (6) were at the crease.
Pacers Mohammed Khader, Pagadala Naidu and off-spinner Hanuma Vihari picked up a wicket apiece.
Earlier, resuming at their overnight score of 159 for two, Hyderabad lost Vihari (81) and Arjun Yadav (16) in the morning session.
Vihari, who was unbeaten on 76 yesterday, could add only five runs to his overnight score as he was scalped by pacer Anand Rajan in the third over of the day. He struck eight fours in his 185-ball stay at the crease.
Yadav was caught by wicketkeeper Ojha off pacer Ishwar Pandey as the hosts crossed the 200-run mark.
Syed Quadri (4) and Ibrahim Khaleel (1) too fell cheaply but Laxman was rock solid in his approach and held one end strongly.
In the process, he brought up his hundred after resuming the second day at his individual score of 70. He became the eighth wicket to fall when he was caught by Ojha behind stumps off Rajan.
The hosts were largely grateful to the last-wicket partnership between Vishal Sharma (37) and Mohammed Khader (35) for their 300-plus score as both added a vital 71 runs in 20.2 overs before the former was caught by Ojha off Jalaj Saxena.