New Delhi: Middle-order batsmen Abhimanyu Chauhan (82) and Ambati Rayudu (83) scored fine unbeaten half-centuries and stitched an unbeaten143-run stand as Baroda fought back to post 252/3 at the end of day 1 of the Ranji Trophy Group B tie against Delhi at Feroz Shah Kotla on Saturday.
Rayudu, a talented Hyderabadi batsman who shifted to Baroda a few years back, played a perfect counter-attacking innings to pull Baroda out of the woods. He played his shots all over the ground. Most of the strokes were a treat to watch as he drove, cut, pulled at ease against the faster bowlers as well as against the spinners.
Abhimanyu Chauhan also played a perfect innings. Though he reached his fifty ahead of Rayudu, the latter overtook him during the last session. But his innings was equally important as he was the one who provided the stability when Baroda were struggling after post lunch session. Both the batsmen hit 13 boundaries each.
On a slow and low pitch which provided almost no assistance to the Delhi bowlers, Baroda did not do any good by slumping to 109/3 around half an hour after the lunch. Though India discard Ashish Nehra bowled only 6 overs in the morning and once he finished his morning spell he went out of the ground not to return during the whole day in which every bowler toiled hard.
Delhi, however, won the toss and surprisingly decided to field first on a wicket which did not look to favour the bowlers. One change Sumit Narwal, though, seemed to justify his skipper Shikhar Dhawan`s decision to bowl first when he picked up opener Saurav Wakasker for 22. baroda were 46/1 at that stage.
Abhimanyu Chauhan then joined Aditya Wagmode and they put together a solid 51-run stand before the latter was cleverly removed by veteran Rajat Bhatia with his slow military medium pace bowling. Bhatia then inflicted another blow on Baroda as he got rid of old war horse Rakesh Solanki for a duck.
From 92/1 at lunch, Baroda suddenly found themselves at 109/3. From then on it was a Rayudu-Chauhan show at a deserted Feroz Shah Kotla where a handful of crowd came to watch the Ranji match.