Ranji Trophy: Gambhir hits 153 as Delhi close in on big win
New Delhi: Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir served a timely reminder to the selectors with a potentially match-winning knock of 153 while Virender Sehwag failed yet again as Delhi closed in on a comprehensive outright win against Haryana in a Ranji Trophy group League encounter at Roshnara club.
Starting the day at 35 for no loss, Delhi declared at 312 for seven leaving Haryana with a stiff target of 376.
At stumps, visitors were reeling at 63 for five with debutant left-arm spinner Varun Sood picking up three wickets for three runs.
The day belonged to Gambhir who faced 215 balls hitting 25 fours. He batted for nearly five hours and stepped the run rate after reaching his 100 to set up Delhi for their first six points in the tournament.
With the Test squad for South Africa set to be announced in a few weeks` time, Gambhir has certainly made a case for himself in the reserve opener`s slot.
Sehwag didn`t have any such luck as he played another rash shot trying to slash a delivery from medium pacer Ashish Hooda away from his body only to offer a simple catch to Sunny Singh at first slip.
Sehwag made six this time and this took his total Ranji score to 69 from six innings this season.
Gambhir, on the other hand, was patient enough. He had a lot of edges that flew past slip and gully region but still managed to hit some good cover drives, pull shots and lofted shots over extra cover.
He reached his century with a slash over point but after reaching his ton was more fluent.
He got some good support from Mithun Manhas, who smashed his way to 36 off 37 balls before retiring hurt due to a hamstring pull.
Rajat Bhatia also played a cameo scoring 56 off 51 balls adding 124 runs in just over 20 overs which helped Delhi declare their innings with at least two hours to go at the Haryana batsmen.
Nitin Saini (29) and Abhimanyu Khod (29) did all the hard work for 16 overs before Saini mistimed a pull shot with Pawan Suyal taking a good catch running in from deep fine leg.
Then it was debutant Sood`s turn. He first bowled one that breached Sunny Singh`s defence and then trapped Hooda and Rahul Dalal plumb in-front to peg Delhi back.
In between Ishant got the wicket of Khod who was taken by Punit Bisht behind the stumps.
Brief Scores: Delhi 201 & 312/7 dec (Gautam Gambhir 153, Rajat Bhatia 56 no, Virender Sehwag 6)
Haryana 138 & (target 376) 63/5 (Varun Sood 3/3).