Tamil Nadu fought back in the post-lunch session to restrict Delhi to 265 on the first day of the three-day final of the Coromandel King-All India Moin-ud-Dowla Gold Cup invitation cricket tournament at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Friday.
Leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin claimed five wickets.
Electing to bat, Delhi seemed to be on course for a challenging score at one stage as the score read an impressive 152 for two.
That was when opener Dhruv Sheroy (70, 156b, 10x4) batted with great freedom, treating both pace and spin alike.
Useful contributions from his partner earlier Mohit Sharma (32) and later Milind Kumar (39, 76b, 4x4, 1x6) pushed Tamil Nadu onto the back-foot.
But, a sharp catch by B. Aparajith at slip to send back Sheroy — who slashed Vijay Shankar but ended up snicking — was just what Tamil Nadu was looking for on a beautiful wicket which had good bounce too.
Earlier, Aparajith took a splendid, diving catch at slip to send back Mayank Tehlan (7) off Ashwin.
Then, the same bowler was delighted when Milind Kumar hit a full-toss straight back to him after executing a fluent cover-drive to the fence off the previous ball.
With the two quick blows, the Delhi innings lost momentum. Ashwin, despite being hit for the odd boundary, kept his cool under pressure and attacked consistently.
A stroke of luck in the form of a suicidal run-out saw the back of the dangerous-looking southpaw Pawan Negi — who hit two huge sixes earlier — as he was stranded at the bowler’s end along with his partner in a terrible mix-up.
Later on, it was only a fighting display by the tail, especially Pradeep Sangwan (35 not out, 48b, 4x4), which helped Delhi wriggle out of a disappointing 207 for seven to post a more decent total.
Ashwin finished with a five-wicket haul to lead the players back into the dressing room.
In the one over that Tamil Nadu faced, opener Arun Karthik played it safe against India discard fast bowler Ishant Sharma as the team finished at one for no loss at close of play.
Delhi 265 in 82.4 overs (Mohit Sharma 32, Dhruv Sheroy 70, Milind Kumar 39, Pradeep Sangwan 35 n.o., Murugan Ashwin five for 88) vs Tamil Nadu one for no loss in one over.