New Delhi: Delhi bowlers led by seamer Sumit Narwal made a strong comeback with the second new-ball to restrict Bengal to 473 on the second day of a Group A Super League match of the Ranji Trophy at the Feroz Shah Kotla here on Tuesday.
Delhi bowlers, who put up a listless performance on the first day of the match, bowled in right areas in the opening session as Bengal lost their last eight wickets for only 160 runs.
Delhi, in reply, were 89 for one with India’s ODI star Virat Kohli (51 batting, 78 balls, 9x4) looking good for a big score in company of opener Shikhar Dhawan (33 batting, 4x4).
An intriguing third day is on the cards as Bengal will require another nine wickets and Delhi require another 385 runs in order to get three points.
In the morning, Delhi reduced Bengal to 357 for six before off-spinner Sourashis Lahiri (68 not out, 122 balls, 10x4, 1x6) and wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha (36, 137 balls, 5x4) added 98 runs for the seventh wicket to take Bengal past 450.
The morning session belonged to Delhi pacers. It was first day’s hero Arindam Das, who was back in the hut after scoring 156 as he played across the line to an incoming delivery from Parwinder Awana (2/88).
After Awana bowled a tight spell, it was Narwal, who in a devastating spell of four overs, got three wickets.
Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary was not exactly at his free- flowing best although he hit some lovely boundaries in between.
After having square cut Narwal for a four, Tiwary fell victim to low bounce of the pitch as he failed to keep out a shooter from Narwal and was adjudged leg before.
Tiwary, who looked good for a century, was out for 69. Anustup Majumdar could not keep his bat out from a gentle away going delivery from Narwal to be snapped up by Puneet Bisht behind the stumps.
Much was expected from former captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla but he played inside the line of a Narwal delivery that moved a shade to uproot his off-stump.
Credit should go to Sourashis who then launched a swift counter attack punishing the loose deliveries as Wriddhiman frustrated the bowlers with his dogged resistance at the other end.
While Delhi bowlers showed a lot of discipline bowling in right areas as they got fair beat of seam movement, the application that was hallmark of Bengal’s batting yesterday was essentially lacking. Even the tailenders did not show stomach for fight as Iresh Saxena, Ranadeb Bose and Ashok Dinda all failed to trouble the scorers.
When Delhi batted, it was the ease with which Virat Kohli dealt with the Bengal bowlers. The free-flowing drives, a nice-pull shot showed that Kohli is eager to make full use of the opportunity he is getting.
Although Kohli survived a caught and bowled chance off Dinda when he was on 31, he was hardly perturbed by any of the opposition bowlers. Only Sourashis kept him quiet during his three over spell.
The best shot from Kohli was a punchy cover-drive that brought up his half century. Dhawan, on the otherhand, also looked assured.
Pumped by his bowlers’ good showing on Tuesday, Delhi coach Manoj Prabhakar feels that the match is far from over yet.
“When they were reduced to 357 for six we should have got them all-out for 415. We gave away approximately 60 runs more. I am happy that our boys are batting confidently but I don’t want over-confidence to affect them. It’s still a long way to go,” Prabhakar said.
However, the former India pacer criticised the SG balls which he feels are not of uniform shape.
“Look both days balls were changed early in the match. When you are forced to change a new ball it’s umpires’ prerogative and you can’t do much. The SG balls don’t have uniformity in their shape and the feel of the seam is not same. So when we got the second new-ball late yesterday, it worked for us,” he added.
Bengal coach WV Raman credited the Delhi bowlers for making a good comeback.
“You can’t crib about what you don’t have. The Delhi boys came back hard knowing that it was the first session which they have to make full use of. They did just that. Now it’s our turn to make do with what we have,” Raman concluded.
Bengal 1st innings: 473 all out (Arimdam Das 156, Manoj Tiwary 69, Sreevats Goswami 68, Sourashis Lahiri 68 not out; Sumit Narwal 3/61).
Delhi 1st innings: 89 for one (Virat Kohli 51 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 33 not out; Ashok Dinda 1/29).