Ranji Trophy: Delhi concede slender 1st innings lead as Akshar grabs six

Surat: A formidable Delhi side conceded a 25-run first innings lead to Gujarat before reducing the hosts to 89 for four in the second innings at stumps on the third day of their group A Ranji Trophy encounter at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium here on Saturday.

Gujarat now enjoy an overall lead of 114 runs with six wickets in hand and day`s play left to atleast go home with three points.

In reply to Gujarat`s first innings score of 320, Delhi were all-out for 295 despite a fighting knock of 104 by Mithun Manhas and steady 64 by left-handed Manan Sharma.

Veteran Ashish Nehra provided some resistance with a gritty 37 down the order but eventually ran out of partners with left-arm spinner Akshar Patel grabbing career-best figures of six for 55. Offie Jesal Karia (3/43) gave him good support having picked up the prized scalp of Virender Sehwag yesterday.

Delhi started the day at 195 for four but lost Manan in the fourth over of the day as Akshar breached through his defences. Manhas-Manan partnership produced 153 runs.

Manan, son of former India cricketer Ajay Sharma, faced 136 balls hitting 10 fours and a six.

On the otherhand, Manhas reached his 23rd first-class hundred before padding up an arm-ball from left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhurv.

With Sumit Narwal also dismissed cheaply, Delhi were reduced to 242 for seven before Nehra and Rajat Bhatia (23) joined hands to add 37 runs for the eighth wicket. The gutsy Bhatia was adjudged plumb in-front off an Akshar delivery.

In his desperate bid, Nehra hit a few boundaries before offering a return catch to Karia.

In the second innings, Delhi bowlers came out all guns blazing reducing Gijarat to 47 for four before the two Patels -- opener Smit (23 batting) and skipper Parthiv (28 batting) stemmed the rot with an unbroken 42-run fifth wicket stand.

Brief Scores: Gujarat 320 & 89/4 (Parthiv Patel 28 batting, Sumit Narwal 2/15)

Delhi 295 (Mithun Manhas 104, Manan Sharma 64, Akshar Patel 6/55).

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