Saurashtra v Delhi: 18 wickets fall on Day 1

Saurashtra restricted Delhi to 194 for 8 after succumbing to 92 runs in its first innings.

Jaydev Unadkat Saurashtra

Saurashtra's Jaydev Unadkat bowled an incisive spell to keep Delhi in check.   -  PRASHANT-NAKWE

Saurashtra bowlers covered up deficiencies of its batsmen by restricting Delhi to 194 for 8 on an exciting first day of the Ranji Trophy Group B tie at the Reliance stadium on Wednesday.

>Scorecard

Needing maximum points from the Round 9 game and defending a low 92-run first innings effort, Jaydev Unadkat showed the way with an incisive opening spell, inspiring young fast bowlers Koushang Patel (4 for 59) and Shaurya Sanandiya (2 for 51). Rishabh Pant (40 off 28 balls, 7x4, 1x6) looked in control at the crease but lost patience. Pradeep Sangwan’s resilience at number nine (39 n.o. off 60 balls) stood out in a line-up packed with batting heavyweights.

Sumit Narwal (4 for 27) and Sangwan (4 for 25) were on the mark in the morning after Gambhir won the toss. M.S.K. Prasad, chairman of senior selectors, watched as 18 wickets tumbled, setting up an intriguing contest in the sessions to come.

Delhi’s lower-order accumulated runs in the last session as the shadows crept up and the track eased out, ahead by 102 runs and three days left.

Delhi’s canny exponents' swing and cut kept the rivals on tenterhooks. Unadkat (14-3-65-2) gave a timely demonstration of the respect he commands from domestic batsmen. He kept top order in check and came back to force a breakthough.

Navdeep Saini gained considerable swing, Narwal kept his line on the off-stump corridor and Sangwan focussed on the stumps. Snell Patel watched four teammates head back by the 12th over on the opening day.

Opener Kishan Parmar snicked one to slips; D Chauhan stepped out to defend, missed the line and heard the rattle behind; Sheldon Jackson was leg-before; Jaydev Shah shaped to block a ball heading for the ribs, bowler Sangwan followed through and dived forward to complete a looping catch.

Saurashtra opener Patel’s confident show at the crease against swing and pace ended in the 20th over, caught on the fine-leg fence off Sangwan. Mankad tried to break the chain, stepping out for two consecutive fours off Narwal. He then ducked into a bouncer from the same bowler, his helmet took the blow and play was halted for medical staff to take a look. He top-scored with 33 off 35 balls. Narwal got 4 for 27 as Saurashtra crashed to 92 all out in 33.3 overs.

Delhi’s experienced opening pair, Dhawan and Gambhir, were expected to deal with the challenges. Unadkat started off with six dot balls to the former, beating the batsman twice with movement off the track. He kept Gambhir quiet. Koushang Patel, his young new ball partner, ran into trouble against Dhawan, three hits to the cover region seemed an intent to dominate.

Saurashtra was soon celebrating dismissals as Delhi slipped to 57 for 4 by the 16th over. Nitish Rana became Unadkat’s first scalp, rewarded for his hostile spells against the openers, with the India swing bowler returning to add another victim. He will remain the strike bowler Delhi tailenders will be wary against.