Orissa suffered some initial dents before recovering but eventually squandered the good work done by Subhranshu Senapati and Biplab Samantray against Delhi on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy match at the I. S. Bindra Stadium here on Thursday.
Orissa slipped from a healthy 200 for four to be bowled out for 237 after being put in by Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir, who led the team astutely and deserved a pat for his handling of the attack. At close, Delhi was 43 for no loss with Gambhir and Unmukt Chand looking comfortable in the middle.
Sumit Narwal, a veteran of 53 matches in 16 seasons, once again proved his utility as a key contributor to Delh’s chances of qualifying for the next stage. He struck two blows, removing Sandeep Pattnaik and Ranjit Singh, as Delhi took an early grip on the contest. Encouraged by Narwal’s line, the young Vikas Tokas, not at his best, got rid of the obdurate Govinda Poddar and soon Orissa lost Anurag Sarangi to be reduced to 59 for four.
Batting had been Orissa’s shortcoming for sometime and it was glaringly exposed on a pitch that assisted the bowlers in the first session. As the surface appeared to settle down, the pair of Senapati (76 off 153 balls with ten fours) and Samantray (62 off 112 balls with eight fours) added 141 runs for the fifth wicket as Delhi allowed the game to drift for a while.
It was at this stage that Gambhir chose to rely on the left-arm spin of Varun Sood, who bowled impressively. He induced a casual shot from Samantray, who found Ishant at long-off in attempting an ill-advised shot. The dismissal gave Delhi the breakthrough and 12 balls later Senapati, not comfortable against the short ball, was hurried into his pull shot only to lob the ball back to Ishant. It was a timely wicket by Ishant, who bowled with restraint as part of his comeback to full fitness.
Samantray’s dismissal triggered a collapse courtesy the two left-arm spinners, Sood and Manan Sharma. For Sood, it was a just reward for sticking to a nagging line while Manan, who bowled well in patches, earned his wickets well too.
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