Trusted pair pile on the runs for Hyderabad

Before the game against Mumbai, Hyderabad had scored the least number of runs while losing the most number of wickets (1,264 runs, 46 wickets) across eighteen teams in Groups A and B. And with the team management deciding to do away with the old (VVS Laxman out injured, Ravi Teja, Ibrahim Khaleel and Arjun Yadav were axed) and usher in the new for their fourth round game, 21-year old skipper Akshath Reddy must have realised how critical he was to fortunes of the mis-firing batting unit.

The eleven that took the field against Mumbai had made 646 runs between them this season. Akshath Reddy and Hanuma Vihari, 19, contributed 343 runs or 54 per cent of the runs scored. At the end of the third day's play, the numbers would further tilt markedly in favour of the pair, but the degree of dependence would not worry the home side too much.

Akshath Reddy and Vihari added 386 runs, a Hyderabad record for any wicket, to take the side within 20 runs of Mumbai's first innings score of 443, with seven wickets in hand, at stumps. Both batsmen missed their double centuries by a whisker - Akshath Reddy made 196 and Vihari ended on 191 - but for a side that had just two points from three games so far, the three that is about to come their way will be the number that matters.

The day began with Akshath Reddy on 63 and Vihari on 53 and the pattern of play was set early on. Vihari was the hustler and the opportunist, while Akshath Reddy was more compact. While Vihari top edged a pull just over the `keeper's head early in the day, Akshath Reddy settled in with wristed boundaries to the on-side. Akshath Reddy would find the boundary more frequently and Vihari would work the field, which was forever retreating or advancing in response to Akshath Reddy's stroke making. Though both made identical scores, Vihari faced almost 100 balls less despite Akshath Reddy scoring 42 runs (nine fours and a six) more in boundaries.

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