Ranji Trophy: Delhi on brink of victory against Odisha

Odisha, trailing by 258 runs, was 109 for four in the second innings at the end of third day.

Delhi cricketer Milind Kumar

Milind Kumar scored his second first-class century on the third day of the match against Orissa.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

If Delhi could sniff a victory with a day to spare the credit lay with Milind Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Manan Sharma. When play ended on the third day of the Ranji Trophy match at the I. S. Bindra Stadium here on Saturday, Odisha, trailing by 258 runs, was 109 for four in the second innings with the reliable Govinda Poddar standing between Delhi and his team with an unbeaten knock of 52.

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Milind, in compiling his second first-class century in 33 innings, was the driving force this morning. He and Sonnet Club-mate Manan Sharma, who made a neat 81, added 156 runs for the eighth-wicket to put Delhi in a strong position after the team resumed at 351 for seven.

Milind batted to his potential. “We (Delhi) had two bad innings against Karnataka (in the last match) at Kolkata and had to make up for that defeat. We had aimed at improving here and I am glad to have contributed to it,” said Milind after his 229-ball innings that contained eight fours and two sixes.

The contribution of Manan, son of former Test batsman Ajay Sharma, was instrumental in helping the team and Milind took a firm grip on the contest. “I’m used to batting with the tail but Manan was outstanding,” remarked Milind, who took to cricket late after indulging in football and taekwondo. “I’ve played in two taekwonda internationals,” informed Milind.

The 25-year-old Milind produced a flawless show. “I concentrated on having a long partnership and built a big first-innings lead," he added. Was a hundred on his mind? “I’ve got out in the 80s and 90s a few times but I wanted to ensure we had a big lead. Manan batted very well at the other end.”

Delhi declared with an imposing lead and put Odisha under pressure through Ishant Sharma, who came up with a lively spell that fetched him the wickets of Sandeep Pattanaik and Ranjit Singh, both caught behind. Ishant then took a fine catch at midwicket to remove Anurag Sarangi and Manan completed a fine day by trapping Subhranshu Senapati, who made 76 in the first innings.