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Faced with onerous task, hosts off to wobbly start

Chopra, Yagnik hit hundreds to give Rajasthan the edge. Shalabh Manocha reports.

cricket Updated: Jan 04, 2012 01:06 IST
Shalabh Manocha
Shalabh Manocha
Hindustan Times

If slow and steady wins the race, then Rajasthan are on track. Centuries by overnight batsmen Akash Chopra and Dishant Yagnik helped the defending champions score 421 in their first innings on the second day at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Upal. In reply Hyderabad was 35 for two and trail by 386 runs.

Akash Chopra continued to be the thorn in the hosts' flesh, as he batted for nearly 10 hours and faced 75 overs on a lifeless pitch to score his second century of the season. The opener ignored everything that was pitched in the corridor of uncertainty and reached the landmark with a flick to midwicket for a couple.

Unlike the other batsmen, who cut loose after the reaching a milestone, Chopra stayed grounded. At the other end, Dishant Yagnik, who was dropped on 15 on Monday, also reached his century in the first session. However, at the stroke of lunch, the wicketkeeper-batsmen Yagnik played all over an Kanishka Naidu delivery to see his off-stump uprooted, which broke the 185-run stand.

With the lower order as company, Chopra hit a six over extra cover to break the shackles. For a man who had batted for more than one-and-a-half days for his 142, Chopra's was a soft dismissal as he lobbed one to B Sandeep at short midwicket off left-arm spinner Mehdi Hasan.

Hyderabad again failed to seize the opportunity as the lower order went on to contribute 94 runs. Pankaj Singh scored 42 with the help of four boundaries and two sixes. He was also the last man out to Hasan, who took his first five-wicket haul in his second first-class game. With 10 overs left in the day, the Rajasthan pacers bowled to their field and were rewarded with the wicket of opener Akshath Reddy, who looked in good touch.

First Published: Jan 03, 2012 23:44 IST