Ranji Trophy: Ishant & Co. pillage Maharashtra

Fast bowler Ishant Sharma, Navdeep Saini and Lalit Yadav helped reduce Maharashtra to 59 for eight by the end of Day Two of Delhi’s Ranji Trophy tie in New Delhi.

Ishant Sharma’s opening spell got Delhi the momentum by which it scythed through the batting line-up.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Ishant Sharma’s opening spell brought Maharashtra to its knees and some poor stroke-selection by the late-order left the visiting team staring at follow-on against an upbeat Delhi in the crucial Ranji Trophy match here on Saturday.

After Delhi resumed its first innings at 260 for four and reached 419, with overnight centurion Nitish Rana scoring a career-best 174, the Delhi skipper struck thrice in quick succession to reduce Maharashtra to 14 for four. Needing 270 to make Delhi bat again, Maharashtra was tottering at 59 for eight in 25 overs at stumps.

Scorecard

Play was halted due to poor light when Maharashtra was 56 for six. But soon the light improved and play resumed. Delhi bowlers made the most of the available time and struck twice to compound Maharashtra’s woes.

Day One report: Rana, Pant keep Maharashtra at bay

Ishant sliced through the Maharashtra top-order by sending back openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Murtaza Trunkwala, and No. 3 Rahul Tripathi. Known to score big on placid tracks, the Maharashtra batsmen showed total lack of application to deal with the bounce and pace generated by Ishant and offered catches at gully and the slip cordon.

Debutant shines

From the other end, Navdeep Saini sent back the reliable duo of Ankeet Bawane and Rohit Motwani to break Maharashtra’s back. In fading light, debutant Lalit Yadav, who scored a strokeful 52 earlier in the day, scalped took two wickets complete Delhi’s day.

What is going to hurt Maharashtra is that first it let Delhi get away from 55 for three to a total past 400 and then lost eight wickets in quick time to stare at defeat at the halfway stage.

Century stand

In contrast to Maharashtra’s poor batting, Rana and Yadav put on 104 runs for the sixth wicket and placed Delhi in a strong position. Rana smashed four sixes and 18 boundaries during the knock that bettered his previous high of 146 scored against Assam in Baroda in October last year. Yadav showed no signs of nerves for a debutant and cracked 10 boundaries in his 94-ball knock.

From now on, only a monumental effort from Maharashtra can deny Delhi a possible victory.

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