Mithun Manhas added one more to the long list of his game-changing knocks. One from the fast-diminishing breed that has kept alive the art of classical batting, Manhas may not have been destined to play at the highest level of the game but presents a pleasing sight when in full flow.
Using all his experience of 15 years of first-class cricket, this seasoned campaigner combined flair and flourish to compile a stroke-filled unbeaten 161 that set up Delhi’s hunt for maximum points from its Ranji Trophy encounter against Odisha here on Saturday.
On the second day, Delhi piled up 331 in its first innings with Manhas contributing nearly half the runs as he registered his fourth highest Ranji Trophy knock that took Delhi past Odisha’s first innings tally of 143.
Trailing by 188 runs, Odisha finished the second day at seven without loss. The day belonged to Manhas and the highlight was his 139-run seventh wicket stand with Sumit Narwal that firmly put Delhi in command.
On a pitch where stroke-making was not easy, Manhas smashed 26 boundaries. His flair was in full view once he adjusted to the variable bounce of the surface.
Manhas, who turned 33 last month, chose to drive the ball more in the initial phase of his innings and later chose to cut and pull comfortably to leave Odisha exasperated.
“I just got lucky that I came good on this day. You cannot be casual even for one ball on pitch like this. I had to dig out some deliveries but overall, it was nice to score some runs when the team needed them.
This should rank among one of my better knocks,” said the modest-sounding Manhas, talking about his 18th century in the National championship.
Odisha —1st innings: 143
Delhi — 1st innings: U. Chand c Das b Mohanty 3, S. Dhawan c Rakesh Mohanty b Basanta Mohanty 22, Mohit Sharma lbw b Deepak Behera 16, M. Manhas (not out) 161, Manan Sharma c Mallick b Mangaraj 15, Milind Kumar lbw b Deepak Behera 8, P. Bisht c Das b Basanta Mohanty 11, S. Narwal b Mangaraj 66, V. Mishra lbw b Mangaraj 0, P. Awana b Basanta Mohanty 6, P. Suyal st. Das b Patel 0, Extras (b-1, lb-3, nb-19): 23,Total (in 105.4 overs): 331.
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-41, 3-55, 4-106, 5-131, 6-163, 7-302, 8-302, 9-326.
Odisha bowling: Basanta Mohanty 29-9-84-4, A. Mangaraj 16-2-63-3, Rakesh Mohanty 3-0-10-0, Deepak Behera 19-5-47-2, B. Samatray10-0-35-0, Dhiraj Singh 18-5-58-0, G. Poddar 5-0-24-0, P. Patel 5.4-1-9-1.
Odisha — 2nd innings: A. Mallick (batting) 1, P. Patel (batting) 6, Total (for no loss in five overs): 7.
Delhi bowling: Awana 1-0-1-0, Mishra 2-2-0-0, Manan Sharma 2-1-6-0.
Keywords: Ranji Trophy