Andhra seem to be favourites to make it to the knockout stage of the Ranji Trophy as they managed to take a slender 17-run lead over Kerala on the third and penultimate day of their final Group C match.
Andhra had scored 329 in their first innings and then riding on superb bowling by DP Vijaykumar (4/77) and T Atchuta Rao (4/78) bundled out Kerala for 312.
At stumps, Andhra reached 38 for no loss in their second innings, and their overall lead is 55 runs with DB Prasanth (8) and Srikar Bharat (30) at the crease.
Andhra, who are currently placed second in the Group C table with 21 points, might be satisfied with three points which seems a most likely result tomorrow.
Kerala, currently with 18 points, are virtually out of contention and only a miraculous victory tomorrow could take them to the next stage.
Earlier, resuming at 55 for two, Kerala rode on centuries by VA Jagadeesh (117) and Sanju Samson (122) to cross the 300-run mark but lack of support from the other batsmen let the team down as they fell short by just 18 runs to take the first innings lead.
Apart from the two centurions, Rohan Prem (25) and CP Shahid (13) were the only other batsmen who could reach double figures even as the Andhra bowlers wrecked havoc.
Apart from Vijaykumar and Rao, Syed Sahabuddin (2/43) chipped in with two valuable wickets.
Brief Scores: Kerala 312 in 98.5 overs (VA Jagadeesh 117, Sanju Samson 122; DP Vijaykumar 4 for 77, T Atchuta Rao 4 for 78) trail Andhra 329 & 38 for no loss in 6 overs (Srikar Bharat 30*) by 17 runs
First Published: December 31, 2012, 8:41 pm