It wasn't the kind of start former champions Uttar Pradesh were looking at against Andhra at the Bhamshah Ground IN meerut on Monday. The visitors made full use of perfect batting conditions to seize the initiative on the opening day of the four-day Ranji Trophy Group ‘B’ Super League match, reaching 222 for 4 at close.
UP’s star bowlers Praveen Kumar and Piyush Chawla remained wicket-less, as Andhra batsmen negotiated them with ease. Right-hand opener Prasad Reddy was ruthless.
Though left-arm orthodox spinner Praveen Gupta struck two vital blows before lunch, UP bowlers found themselves struggling for wickets.
Opener Hemal Watekar (34, 4x7) miscued Gupta’s slow delivery and gave a simple catch to Praveen Kumar. A.S.K. Verma (7) then gave a regulation catch to stumper Amir Khan off Gupta.
Much was expected of the UP bowlers after lunch, but Reddy and B. Sumanth (26) kept them at bay. Chawla, despite changing his bowling end, couldn’t get the vital breakthrough. Reddy was especially harsh on Chawla — bowling short before tea — pulling the leggie on a number of occasions in the square-leg region. Reddy remained unbeaten on 89, with 12 hits to the fence. A.G. Pradeep (35) was giving him company when stumps were drawn.
Young seamer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar generated some enthusiasm, striking twice.
What was of immense concern for the UP team on the inaugural day was the below-par performance by last season’s highest wicket-taker Sudeep Tyagi. He bowled 14 overs but remained wicketless.
Scoreboard: Andhra 1st inn 222 for 4 in 92 ovrs (Watekar c P. Kumar b P. Gupta 34, Reddy batting 89, A.S.K. Verma c Mohd Amir b P. Gupta 7, Sumanth c Tanmay b Bhuvaneshwar 26, Rao lbw b Bhuvaneshwar 7, A.G. Pradeep batting 35) Extras: (b-8, lb-5, nb-8, w-3) 24; FoW: 1-39, 2-56, 3-131, 4-159; Bowling: P. Kumar 22-8-49-0, S. Tyagi 14-4-46-0, B. Kumar 20-7-43-2, P. Gupta 19-3-39-2, P. Chawla 17-3-32-0.