Ranji Trophy: Manan 136 puts Delhi in the driver's seat

After Manan Sharma and Pulkit Narang took Delhi past 400, their new skipper Ishant Sharma bowled a fiery opening spell to reduce Railways to 58 for five.

Manan Sharma's 216-ball 136 boosted Delhi's total past 400.   -  AKHILESH KUMAR

Manan Sharma scored his maiden first-class century in 28 games and picked up two wickets on a fruitful day for Delhi in a Group A Ranji Trophy match against Railways at the Karnail Singh Stadium here on Sunday.

Railways batsmen struggled against a fiery opening spell by Ishant Sharma that saw the ball moving both ways, Navdeep Saini's accuracy and pace and Manan Sharma's flighted, turning deliveries. Saurabh Wakaskar didn't know what hit him and was cleaned up in the first ball of the innings by Ishant. Nitin Bhille edged to Dhruv Shorey at second slip off another ball that came in and Sharma rapped Arindam Ghosh and Abhishek Yadav on the pads in front of the wicket. Ishant, towards the day's end, got another wicket in his second spell.

BRIEF SCORECARD

Delhi 447 in 144.5 overs (Manan Sharma 136, Nitish Rana 89; Anureet Singh four for 92) vs Railways 58 for five in 33 overs (Shivakant Shukla 29, Mahesh Rawat (batting) 9, M. R. Chaudhary (batting) 2; Ishant Sharma three for 12.


With a 216-ball 136 that included 17 fours, Sharma, along with Pulkit Narang (55), added 117 runs for the seventh wicket that saw Delhi go from 311 to a 400-plus score. The visiting team was all out for 447 soon after lunch with Anureet Singh picking up four wickets for Railways. The host was struggling at 58 for five at stumps on day two with Shivakant Shukla scoring 29 of those in 99 balls. Shukla even got a life on 26, dropped by Gautam Gambhir off Sharma but that made little difference.

But it was Sharma's quick runs that set the template for Delhi's dominance. Continuing from his overnight score of 68, the all-rounder fended off both spinners and pacers with equal ease. Railways struggled to contain runs, with its spinners being ineffective and getting no purchase from the pitch.

Sharma's partnership with Narang was safe yet steady; he guided the latter well. But Narang soon tried to play an ambitious drive off Deepak Bansal and failed to get enough elevation, sending the ball straight to Avinash Yadav at mid-off. Thereafter, it was just a matter of time before Delhi's innings was wrapped up.

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