Ranji Trophy: Manan Sharma helps Delhi secure lead

Left-hander Manan Sharma scored an unbeaten 82 (119b, 9x4, 1x6) to help Delhi get to 250 for eight on day two of the group-B Ranji trophy match versus Vidarbha at the SSN College here

Manan Sharma is unbeaten on 82 against Vidarbha.   -  K.Pichumani

Left-hander Manan Sharma scored an unbeaten 82 (119b, 9x4, 1x6) to help Delhi get to 250 for eight on day two of the group-B Ranji trophy match versus Vidarbha at the SSN College here. Delhi now has a lead of 67 runs. For Vidarbha, Rajneesh Gurbani picked up three wickets on the day and ended with figures of four for 76, and Lalit Yadav took three for 79.

Delhi had called right to bowl at toss, for it aligns with what's unanimously been observed of the playing strip: "Enough grass; enough carry." But, where Delhi's pacemen made nominal use of the initial phase of play until lunch on day one - when the pitch afresh, best wills to favour the ball - Vidarbha did marginally better on day two.

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Rajneesh Gurbani picked up two wickets, and Shrikant Wagh and Lalit Yadav picked up one each, as Delhi was reduced to 98 for five in 32 overs by lunch.

Gurbani accounted for Pradeep Sangwan, the nightwatchman, and Gautam Gambhir. The pair added just eight runs to Delhi's overnight score of 12 for one. Sangwan was the first to go, caught by Shrivastava at Gully. Gambhir was out next, leg before wicket. He had faced 41 balls in all, 23 off Gurbani, and had scored seven off him.

Wagh had Unmukt Chand caught behind for nought soon after, and Rishabh Pant also snicked a ball to the 'keeper, off Lalit, ending his brief stay of promise — he had scored 29 off 43 balls with four fours and a six.

Nitish Rana, who, again, had played himself in, with 27 off 60 balls was the first to go after lunch. He pulled one straight to midwicket off Lalith. Manan Sharma and Milind then, added 63 runs for the seventh wicket partnership for the first long batting haul of the day. The second, an unbroken 72-run partnership, was between Manan Sharma and Vikas Tokas for the ninth wicket. This, after Gurbani had bowled Milind, and Lalit had Sumit Narwal caught by Faiz Fazal at mid-off.

Delhi will look to build on this lead and look for an outright win to increase its chances of qualifying for the quarterfinals.