Hyderabad show character to salvage draw

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Kolkata, Nov 7 (UNI) Anoof Pai (119 not out) scored his maiden first class hundred as Hyderabad salvaged a draw and ensured one point in their Ranji Trophy Super League Group B encounter against Bengal at Eden Gardens today.

Starring down the barrel before the start of the last day's play, the visitors showed the right intent for the first time. Overnight pair of Pai and Arjun Yadav, starting at 86 for 3, a good 148 runs behind did a good jobs.

They added 68 runs more without taking any risk, before Yadav's patience gave way to a poor shot. His square-cut of Murtaza Lodhgar was gleefully accepted by substitute Sourav Sarakar at short point.

But if that was the wicket Bengal were looking for, they were in for more trouble. Pai joined hands with Amol Shinde to frustrate the Bengal bowlers. Both Sourasish Lahiri and Lodhgar were guilty of pitching it short and the Hyderabadi batsmen had no problem in handlng them.

Bengal skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla's gamble of bowling Manoj Tewari also did not pay off. Shinde just got out before the tea break, Safi Ahmed latching on to a bat-pad effort at silly point off Lahiri.

However, the dead as a dodo strip offered nothing to the bowlers and frustration piled.

Temper got the better of the home team boys as they got into a mild altercation with Pai and debutant wicketkeeper Habeeb Ahmed over ''time wasting''. But both the captains played down the matter and so did the two umpires SK Tarapore and VD Nerukar.

''All these things happen in the heat of the moment. It was nothing serious. None of us are going to report or do anything further about it, '' Tarapore said.

The match was called off early with no chance of a result and Hyderbad went home with one point, while the hosts had to be satisfied with three points.

Unbeaten 119, his maiden first-class hundred in just third appearance for Hyderabad, ensured a draw against Bengal at Eden Gardens. Hyderabad recovered from an overnight 86 for 3 to finish 302 for 6, with Pai and Arjun Yadav (53) getting among the runs.

Left-arm spinner Murtaza Lodhgar added two wickets on the fourth day to finish with 5 for 68. Bengal took three points to Hyderabad's one.


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