Ashoke Dinda's superb four-wicket haul powered Bengal to restrict a depleted Delhi to 240 runs in the first innings on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Group B match at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
Electing to bat, Delhi -- which missed the services of Dhruv Shorey, Navdeep Saini and Vikas Mishra due to fitness issues -- rode on southpaw Jonty Sidhu's maiden half-century to post a modest total.
Playing the role of a strike bowler to perfection, Dinda used the conditions well to bowl a tidy spell of nine overs, conceding only 21 runs for three wickets.
As it happened: Ranji Trophy Round 8, Day 1
He found the right length to spectacularly uproot Kunal Chandel's off-stump off his fourth delivery and trapped Anuj Rawat, who was lucky not to be adjudged lbw off Mukesh Kumar.
Nitish Rana (21 off 17 balls) survived a lbw appeal and was dropped by host skipper Manoj Tiwary off Mukesh, but could not bank on the 'lives.'
Dinda exposed Hiten Dalal's weakness outside the off-stump and had him caught by wicketkeeper Agniv Pan after the latter escaped two huge appeals for caught behind. Mukesh scalped Himmat Singh as Delhi was reduced to 73 for five in the 19th over.
With the pitch easing up and outfield getting faster, the Bengal bowlers could not sustain pressure and Delhi scored 74 runs for the loss of one wicket in the second session.
Sidhu (85 off 165 balls, 11x4) forged an important 96-run partnership with Shivam Sharma (42 off 85, 5x4) to avert a disaster. Jonty Sidhu played watchfully even while driving, pulling, cutting and using his feet and wrists well to gather runs.
When Shivam fell to a loose shot off Tiwary, Sidhu was joined by Shivank Vashisth (34 not out), who was let-off by Tiwary on three off Gani, to collect 42 runs.
The 21-year-old was dismissed by Writtick Chatterjee, the first spinner to bowl from the Club House End after 72 overs.
"I just played each ball on merit," said Sidhu. Dinda took Akash Sudan's wicket before Delhi closed its innings.
Delhi 240 in 83.3 overs (Jonty Sidhu 85, Shivam Sharma 42, Ashoke Dinda four for 62) vs Bengal.