Riding on the handy contributions from the late-order, Andhra achieved the primary objective of putting a formidable first-innings tally on the board and then reduced Delhi to 19 for one to stay on course for a possible outright victory at the halfway stage of their four-day Ranji Trophy match at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground on Wednesday.
On a day when only 68.2 overs were bowled – compared to 74 on the first day – Andhra tightened its grip by recovering from the loss of two early wickets after resuming at 203 for three. Three handy partnerships enabled Andhra to declare at 459 for nine. In nine overs of batting, Delhi lost Ayush Badoni for naught and trailed by 440 runs.
Though Skipper Hanuma Vihari fell for 85 and Karan Shinde (10) followed, Andhra batters came good after lunch. The session produced 145 runs in 31 overs, with K. S. Bharat (80, 130b, 8×4, 1×6) resuming from his overnight seven but falling short of a well-deserved century.
His dismissal also ended a 68-run sixth-wicket stand with Nithish Kumar Reddy (66, 102b, 9×4, 1×6). With quick runs being the need of the hour for Andhra, man-for-the-moment Shoaib Mohammad Khan (78, 78b, 7×4, 2×6) joined Nithish and the duo briskly raised 86 runs off 95 deliveries for the seventh wicket.
After Nithish’s exit, Khan took charge and contributed 28 runs off just 18 deliveries during the 38-run eighth-wicket stand off 39 balls with K. V. Sasikanth.
Unlike the first day, Andhra’s sense of urgency was all too evident. With none of the Delhi bowlers looking menacing even in the first session when they took the second new ball, Andhra’s tally stood bolstered. As the day went by, even the tailenders looked most comfortable against a disheartened bowling unit.
Andhra-1st innings: C. R. Gnaneshwar c Ayush Badoni b Hrithik Shokeen 81, Abhishek Reddy c Lakshay b Divij Mehra 22, Hanuma Vihari lbw b Rana 85, Ricky Bhui c Shokeen b Yogesh Sharma 9, K. S. Bharat c Lakshay b Shokeen 80, Karan Shinde c Himmat b Mehra 10, K. Nithish Kumar Reddy lbw b Shokeen 66, Shoaib Mohammad Khan c Shokeen b Yogesh 78, K. V. Sasikanth c (sub) Lalit Yadav b Shokeen 9, K. Sudharsan (not out) 2, Extras (b-6, lb-5, nb-2, w-4) 17, Total (for nine wickets decl. in 133.2 overs) 459.
Fall of wickets: 1-47, 2-153, 3-180, 4-218, 5-255, 6-323, 7-409, 8-447, 9-459.
Delhi bowling: Harshit Rana 23-3-87-1, Mehra 26-7-84-2, Pranshu Vijayran 21-6-61-0, Yogesh Sharma 36.2-4-98-2, Shokeen 25-1-114-4, Badoni 2-0-4-0.
Delhi-1st innings: Dhruv Shorey (batting) 9, Ayush Badoni lbw b Nithish Reddy 0, Hrithik Shokeen (batting) 10, Total (for one wicket in nine overs) 19.
Fall of wicket: 1-0.
Andhra bowling: K. V. Sasikanth 4-2-5-1, Nithish Kumar Reddy 3-2-4-1, Khan 1-0-4-0, A. Lalith Mohan 1-0-6-0.