Andhra Pradesh batsmen survived some anxious moments to secure a draw against a strong Tamil Nadu on the final day of its opening Ranji Trophy Group "C" match here on Monday.
An improved batting performance in the second innings by the host after conceding a 133-run first innings lead saw it set Andhra a target of 218 in 39 overs for an outright win.
Baba Aparajith made an unbeaten 108 while skipper Abhinav Mukund missed out on a ton, falling for 95 and Test opener Murali Vijay came back after retiring hurt on Sunday after appearing to roll his ankle to score a sparkling half-century.
After a bright start, the visiting side faltered as Tamil Nadu bowlers exerted pressure in pursuit of victory.
KS Bharat led the way for Andhra with an enterprising knock of 64, which included five fours and two sixers while Ricky Bhui made 40.
However, after Bhui's exit with the score at 161, Test all-rounder R Ashwin and K Vignesh picked up quick wickets to put the brakes on the scoring.
The dismissal of Bhui and the first innings centurion B Sumanth by Vignesh and Ashwin Hebbar and B Ayyappa by Ashwin raised Tamil Nadu's hopes but time ran out for them.
The quick loss of wickets towards the end added to the excitement before Andhra finished at 198 for 7.
Earlier in the day, resuming at 112 for 2, captain Mukund and Aparajith scored briskly and took the score to 192 before the former fell to left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt.
Aparajith, who made a patient half-century in the first innings, played fluently and hit 10 fours in his knock.
Vijay, who has been out of the Indian side since the series against Australia owing to fitness issues, returned at the fall of the fifth wicket. He found his groove quickly and hit some superb shots, including one six.
The stylish right-hander fell to a catch by Ashwin Hebbar to occasional bowler DB Prashanth Kumar for 55.
Tamil Nadu declared after a flurry of boundaries by M S Washington Sundar and N Jagadeesan, leaving AP 218 to win.
Andhra got three points for gaining the first innings lead while the host had to settle for one point.
Tamil Nadu next plays Tripura from 14 October.
Brief scores (End of day 4): Group "C": Tamil Nadu 176 all out and 350 for 6 declared in 105 overs (Baba Aparajith 108 not out, Abhinav Mukund 95, M Vijay 55, Prithvi Raj Yarra 3 for 61)drew Andhra Pradesh 309 all out in 123.4 overs (B Sumanth 109, R Ashwin 4 for 71) and 198 for 7 in 41.4 overs (K S Bharat 64, Ricky Bhui 40, K Vignesh 3 for 34, R Ashwin 2 for 92) in Chennai. Points - Andhra: 3; TN: 1.
Madhya Pradesh 551 for 8 declared in 164 overs (Devendra Bundela 99, Shubam Sharma 196, Ankit Sharma 104) and 73 for 2 in 16 overs (Harpreet Singh Bhatia 44 not out) beat Baroda 302 all out in 79 overs (Yusuf Pathan 111, Irfan Pathan 80) and 318 all out in 76.1 overs (Yusuf Pathan 136 not out, A Sheth 109, Ishwar Pandey 5 for 40, Mihir Hirwani 3 for 77) by eight wickets at Indore. Points - MP: 6; Baroda: 0.
Tripura 194 for 8 declared in 68 overs (U U Bose 104, Dhiraj Singh 5 for 55) drew Odisha 18 for 1 in 5 overs at Bhubhaneshwar.
Points - Tripura: 1; Odisha: 1.
Services hold on to a draw against Bengal
Bengal bowlers failed to bag more than seven wickets as Services batted out 77 overs on the final day to secure a point from their Group D Ranji Trophy encounter on Monday.
Chasing an improbable target of 355 runs from minimum 77 overs, Services managed to hang on, ending at 212 for seven after Bengal batted an hour on the final day to declare on 161 for five in 22 overs.
On a placid Airforce Sports Complex track, it would have always been difficult to get 20 wickets.
Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary possibly can't be blamed for giving a bit of rest to his bowlers after they send down 111.2 overs in the Services first innings.
Bengal did harbour serious thoughts of victory after 43 overs when half of the Services team were back in the pavilion for 124 runs.
The bowlers had another 34 overs to get the remaining five wickets but left-handed Vikas Hathwala (64, 71 balls) and Muzaffaruddin Khalid (9 no off 99 balls) added 75 runs for the sixth wicket but more importantly consumed nearly 22 overs to frustrate the Bengal attack.
Amir Gani (1/57 in 26 overs) was not as effective as in the first innings and the Services duo, especially Khalid was ready to block anything and everything on an easy track.
Services were 208 for seven at the end of the 70th over with another seven overs of play left.
But Khalid decided to take bulk of the strike with Shamsher Yadav (4 no, 18 balls) for company as the match ended in a draw.
Bengal: 552/9 decl & 161/5 decl (Abhimanyu Easwaran 46, Wriddhiman Saha 22).
Services: 359 & (target 355) 212/7 decl (Vikas Hathwala 64, Muzaffaruddin Khalid 9 not out; Kanishk Seth 2/18).
Points: Bengal 3; Services 1
Other Group D games: Himachal Pradesh: 729/8 decl & 145/6 (Paras Dogra 45, Prashant Chopra 22).
Punjab: 601 (Abhishek Gupta 202, Abhishek Sharma 94).
Points: Punjab 1; Himachal Pradesh 3
Goa: 277 and 170/7 (Sumit Ruikar 5/29). Points: Chattisgarh 3; Goa 1.
Group B match:
Rajasthan: 330 & 246/4 (Rajesh Bishnoi 101, Mahipal Lomror 65).
J&K: 436/8 decl (Ahmed Bandy 102, Parveez Rasool 97).
Points: J&K 3 Rajasthan 1.
Gutsy Assam secure a point against Delhi
Delhi on Monday missed a golden opportunity to register an outright win as Assam managed to sneak home with a point defending a target of 79 in 14 overs during final hour of play.
What looked like a cakewalk in the first hour ended in disappointment for the home team as they managed only 49 runs in eight overs under fading light when umpires were forced to call off the day's proceedings.
Adequate gamesmanship from Assam also helped them earn a psychological point from their opening Group A encounter.
Unmukt Chand (25) failed to pierce the off-side field in fading light while Anuj Rawat's inexperience showed.
T20 specialist Nitish Rana (4) also failed going for a slog.
Assam captain Gokul Sharma spread the field with deep third man, deep point, deep midwicket and deep fine leg to stop the boundaries. Then at one point there were eight fielders at boundary giving batsmen chance to run two.
The Assam bowlers also used time wasting tactics to delay the proceedings with the light only getting worse.
They would stop at run up, take their own time, tend to injuries.
However, the Delhi bowlers inability to get 10 wickets within enough time despite a 177-run first innings lead was the reason for their failure.
Starting the day at 60 for three, Assam batted with dogged determination as they consumed 108.4 overs to score 255.
More importantly, Shib Shankar Roy (87) and wicketkeeper Wasiqur Rahaman (63) frustrated the Delhi bowlers for 25 overs adding 61 runs.
Ishant Sharma (0/41 in 17 overs) bowled his heart out but as it had happened in international cricket in the past, he looked clueless as to how to get wickets on an unresponsive pitch.
Navdeep Saini was the best bowler for Delhi but he would rue his luck that his delivery that got Wasiqur early on in his innings turned out to be a no-ball.
Wasiqur played 168 balls which proved that Delhi never had enough time to win the game.
Assam 258 and 255 (SS Roy 87, Wasiqur Rahaman 63) vs Delhi 435 and (target 79 in 14 overs) 49/2 in 8 overs. Points: Delhi 3 Assam 1.
Hyderabad vs Maharashtra: Match abandoned without a ball being bowled.