Dhawan, Sen rescue Himachal on rain-hit day

Rishi Dhawan and Ekant Sen’s 95-run stand for the seventh wicket helped the tourist cross the 200-run mark on day two.

Rishi Dhawan of Himachal Pradesh executes a shot against Delhi at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium on Tuesday.   -  SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

A 95-run partnership between a rookie and a veteran helped Himachal Pradesh not only avoid a follow-on but also reach a respectable position against Delhi on the second day of its Ranji Trophy outing here on Tuesday.

Youngster Ekant Sen (46) and the seasoned Rishi Dhawan (64) proved their patience at the crease as Himachal plodded to 216 for the loss of eight wickets at stumps, still 101 behind with Pankaj Jaiswal (23 not out) and Mayank Dagar (21 not out) holding fort amid umpiring howlers and some shoddy fielding by the host.

With 76 minutes of play lost to a brief drizzle and dark clouds hovering, Himachal appeared in a hurry to wind up the proceedings. At one point, the team was down to 58 for six against the spin duo of Vikas Mishra and Varun Sood post lunch, before Sen and Dhawan’s rescue act.

Dhawan mixed aggression with restraint to keep the scoreboard moving. Sen, playing only his second first-class match, was impressive. After being dropped by Gautam Gambhir at first slip on 2, he was focused in building the innings keeping the ball on the ground.

The same could not be said of others. After Ishant Sharma sent off Priyanshu Khanduri immediately on resumption of play after rains, captain Prashant Chopra and Ankush Bains tonked the ball around a bit before the team imploded in the second session. The 14th over saw Mishra agonising twice — Chopra was dropped off the first ball by captain Nitish Rana at short mid-off and Bains got a reprieve off the final ball; Himmat Singh failing to hold on to an easy return at forward short leg.

It didn't matter. They both fell within eight runs. Nikhil Gangta and Sumeet Verma didn’t disturb the scorers. Three of the four wickets — all playing with a cross bat with poor shot selection — were picked up by Sood.

Sen was finally cleaned up by Kulwant Khejroliya knocking off his leg stump. Dhawan (64) was more unlucky, given out caught at first slip when the replays showed daylight between the ball and bat. Even Akash Vashist was out caught behind with the ball not hitting the bat.

Earlier, Delhi could add only 12 runs to its overnight total, folding up for 317 on an overcast morning.

Brief scores:

Delhi 1st innings 317 all out (D Shorey 88, H Dalal 79, G Gambhir 44; P Jaiswal 3/56, M Dagar 3/63); Himachal Pradesh 1st innings 216/8 (R Dhawan 64, E Sen 46; V Sood 4/53) on Day 2; HP trail by 101 runs

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