It is difficult for players to motivate themselves when the result of a game has been decided on the third day. However, Hyderabad openers Akshath Reddy and Ravi Teja were able to do that on the fourth and final day of their quarterfinal match against Rajasthan.
Both scored centuries with their team’s fate already known after Hyderabad had been dismissed for 144 in the first innings. The draw was good enough for Rajasthan to reach their second consecutive Ranji Trophy semifinal on the basis of a first innings lead. The hosts declared on 431/2 in the second innings, setting a target of 155 in 35 overs for the visitors who chose not to go for it and were 25 for no loss at stumps.
Judging Hyderabad on the basis of their last three performances against Rajasthan, the defending champions would have fancied another collapse in the second innings but that was not to be. Reddy and skipper Teja picked up from where they had left off the day before. The duo went hunting for the leather but fell eight short of the first-class record for the highest opening stand of 283 set by Hyderabad’s Daniel Manohar and Nand Kishore against Karnataka in 2001-02.
Reddy, in particular, was harsh on anything short on the way to his season’s fourth century, the highlight of his innings being a six that he hit off left- arm spinner Gajendra Singh over long on to reach his century. He went on to amass his highest first-class score of 151.
However, Pankaj Singh dismissed him for the second time in the Test before lunch. His partner Teja, who threw away his wicket in the first outing after scoring a half-century, went on to post his first ton of the season. He remained unbeaten on 185 and along with T Suman, wiped the 277-run deficit in the 76th over.
Suman also scored a half century in just 46 balls. Teja declared at tea but Rajasthan played the mandatory 20 overs and will now face Haryana in the semis.
Brief scores: Rajasthan 421 & 25/0 v Hyderabad 144 & 431/2. Result: Draw. Rajasthan won on 1st innings.