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Puneet Bisht carries Delhi’s hopes

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WRECKER-IN-CHIEF: Saurashtra’s Jayesh Odedra, who took five wickets, traps Delhi’s Mithun Manhas in front.
WRECKER-IN-CHIEF: Saurashtra’s Jayesh Odedra, who took five wickets, traps Delhi’s Mithun Manhas in front.

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Up against Saurashtra’s disciplined and tireless seam attack, Delhi’s now-familiar brittle batting came apart on the second day of the Ranji Trophy match at the Roshanara Club ground here.

Replying to Saurashtra’s 328, Delhi was 262 for seven at stumps after medium-pacer Jayesh Odedra excelled in his first match of the season with a five-wicket haul.

The host needs another 67 runs for the lead and its hope rests on the on-going eighth-wicket stand of 47 runs between Puneet Bisht and Pradeep Sangwan.

Bisht, who came up with a gritty half-century against Uttar Pradesh last week, responded to the challenge. His unbeaten 49, inclusive of six hits to the fence, came at the right time to keep the match in balance. Sangwan, with a six and two boundaries, also was looking assured.

Resuming at 22 without loss, Delhi treaded cautiously for two sessions but never really threatened Saurashtra. Wickets fell at regular intervals and made Saurashtra’s total appear bigger. Openers Aditya Jain, Ankur Julka, captain Virat Kohli and the vastly-experienced Rajat Bhatia were all guilty of failing to build on good starts.

On the other hand, Odedra and Sandeep Maniar deserve all the credit for using the in-swingers judiciously. At times, they did err in line but never allowed the batsmen much liberty. Odedra, who bowled an astonishing 17-over spell spread over the first two sessions for just 41 runs, was duly rewarded with three wickets in that marathon spell.

Equally significant was the contribution of Maniar who later got the ‘big’ wickets of Kohli and Bhatia.

In sharp contrast to the Saurashtra openers on Tuesday, Delhi found the going tough in the pre-lunch session. Medium-pacer Sandeep Jobanputra produced a 10-over spell for just 17 runs as only 64 runs came in 150 minutes, with Delhi losing its openers.

Jain lost his off-stump after going on to the backfoot to Odedra before Julka nicked one to the wicketkeeper in the over before lunch. Thereafter, much depended on the Kohli-Manhas combination, but the duo disappointed. Manhas was given leg-before and Kohli, dropped on 20, failed to negotiate the one that cut back and crashed into the stumps. Later, Mayank Tehlan stayed rooted to the crease to an Odedra delivery to become a perfect candidate for a leg-before decision.

Bhatia, who raised visions of holding Delhi’s innings together during his 127-minute stay, could not help edging a punishable delivery from Maniar to the wicketkeeper in the post-tea session.

Odedra soon returned to scalp Narwal to take this fifth wicket.

The scores:

Saurashtra — 1st innings: 328.

Delhi — 1st innings: A. Julka c Jogiyani b Odedra 36, A. Jain b Odedra 38, V. Kohli b Maniar 39, M. Manhas lbw b Odedra 15, R. Bhatia c Jogiyani b Maniar 33, M. Tehlan lbw b Odedra 14, P. Bisht (batting) 49, S. Narwal c Kotak b Odedra 8, P. Sangwan (batting) 19; Extras (b-2, lb-7, w-2): 11. Total (for seven wickets in 90 overs): 262.

Fall of wickets: 1-65, 2-86, 3-114, 4-134, 5-156, 6-197, 7-215.

Saurashtra bowling: Jobanputra 25-7-73-0, Maniar 22-3-58-2, B. Jadeja 12-0-33-0, Odedra 24-6-71-5, R. Jadeja 7-0-18-0.

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