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regular-article-logo Sunday, 26 May 2024

Duleep Trophy: Captain Hanuma Vihari wages lone battle for South

Vihari brings out his wristy flicks whenever pacers drift on to his pads, adding that touch of elegance to his otherwise doughty innings

PTI Bangalore Published 13.07.23, 09:09 AM
Hanuma Vihari, after his half-century at the Chinnaswamy in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Hanuma Vihari, after his half-century at the Chinnaswamy in Bangalore on Wednesday. PTI Photo

The relentless West Zone bowlers left South Zone on a fragile terrain at 182/7 on the opening day of the Duleep Trophy final at the Chinnaswamy on Wednesday.

Opting to bowl first, West never let the advantage slip on a largely overcast day that was eventually called off a few minutes into the extended session due to insufficient light.

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Captain Hanuma Vihari waged a lone battle for South, scoring 63 off 130 balls. But the conditions meant that a lone man’s effort would not suffice.

Even though they were operating in a favourable space, West Zone pacers Arzan Nagwaswalla, Chintan Gaja and Atit Sheth should be lauded for maintaining a tight leash on the South batting. They moved the ball quite appreciably to keep Mayank Agarwal and R Samarth, the South openers, cautious.

The first wicket did not take long to come, though it was more the result of the batter’s callousness. Samarth opted to cut Gaja’s short and wide delivery outside the off-stump and Harvik Desai, who replaced Het Patel, completed a simple catch behind the stumps.

Thereafter, Mayank and Tilak Varma started to move things ahead for the South. In the process, Mayank, who began the match at 6,976 runs, also completed 7,000 runs in first-class cricket from 159 innings. However, Mayank was not able to convert the start. He often tried to negate the movement while walking down the pitch, which was bound to bring undesired results at some point.

That transpired soon. The Karnataka right-hander’s expansive drive off Sheth had fatal consequences, ending in a catch to Sarfaraz Khan at third slip. At 42/2, South were in some danger, but the best passage of their innings followed. Tilak and Vihari milked 79 runs for the third wicket as South inched towards a safer zone, going to lunch at 100/2.

Vihari was particularly impressive, neutralising the pacers quite well. The right-hander played the quicks closer to his body, muffling the bounce and movement. It helped him resist the West bowlers for over three hours on the day.

Vihari brought out his wristy flicks whenever the pacers drifted on to his pads, adding that touch of elegance to his otherwise doughty innings. The extra second he had to play the ball was quite evident and his method was quite different from other South top order batters who went in search of the ball.

Brief scores: South Zone 182/7 (H. Vihari 63; C. Gaja 2/27, A. Nagwaswalla 2/45) vs West Zone. Stumps, Day 1.

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