New Delhi: Mohit Sharma cashed in on dropped chances to notch up his maiden first-class hundred as Delhi piled on the misery for Tamil Nadu by declaring their first innings on 555 for four in their Ranji Trophy Group B match here on Sunday.
Sharma put on display all the shots in his repertoire, reducing the visitors to mere spectators, before falling 25 runs short of a double century.
His 175 was laced with 28 fours and a six.
Another notable performer on day two was Vaibhav Rawal, who scored an unbeaten 203-ball 100 and, together with Mohit, stitched a partnership of 221 runs for the fourth wicket.
All the Delhi batsmen, barring Mithun Manhas, scored centuries -- two coming yesterday -- on the placid Feroz Shah Kotla track and tightened the noose around Tamil Nadu.
Replying to Delhi`s mammoth total, Tamil Nadu got off to the worst possible start as they lost the seasoned Abhinav Mukund (0) in the first over to pacer Parvinder Awana.
Mukund was caught at slip by a diving Shikhar Dhawan who took the catch on the second attempt.
At stumps, Tamil Nadu were 31 for one in 9 overs with Arun Karthik (6) and Baba Aparajith (25) at the crease. They were still 524 runs adrift of Delhi`s total.
Earlier, resuming at their overnight score of 287 for one, Delhi lost opener Unmukt Chand (138) and Manhas early as Yo Mahesh and skipper L Balaji made the best use of the second new ball in the morning session. Chand could only manage to add four runs to his overnight total as he was caught by wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik off Mahesh.
Balaji then knocked over Manhas` middle stump in what, as always, was a dream sight.
There was no headway thereafter as Mohit and Vaibhav combined to blunt Tamil Nadu`s attack with their resolve and determination.
Mohit looked assured after reaching his 50 and Vaibhav, the new junior run machine from Delhi, also acclimatised himself to the conditions.
Mohit got a breather on 78 when he was dropped at gully off Mahesh`s bowling -- it stayed in the hand of Mukund and then popped out. Unperturbed, Mohit waded into another cut as Delhi reached 383 for three at lunch, having scored 96 in the first session.
Mohit completed a well-deserved century just after lunch, with a lofted drive over mid-on off spinner Aushik Srinivas. His century came in 200 balls, and had 16 hits to the fence.
Mohit`s ton came in his third match for Delhi.
The left-hander was again lucky again, on 113, when he nicked one from off-spinner M Rangarajan, which zipped through the first slip for a four.
Both the batsmen dictated the better part of the second session with their attacking approach to take Delhi past 400 as Tamil Nadu persisted with spin at both ends for 15 overs.
Vaibhav reached his individual fifty in 134 balls.
Tamil Nadu used as many as nine bowlers to get a breakthrough but luck eluded them for better part of the sessions.
When Mohit and Vaibhav were batting, it was more like a battle between defensive bowling and aggressive approach as both pulled, crossed over, stepped out to make the contest a one-sided affair.
Delhi went to tea at 485 for three in 144 overs with Mohit just four short of his 150 and Vaibhav on 74.
If the pace trio of Balaji, Jagannath Kaushik and Mahesh looked clueless, the spin quartret of Aushik, Rangarajan, Prasanna and Aparajith also toiled hard for wickets.
Delhi touched 500 when Mohit made room for Rangarajan and hit him inside-out over cover for four.
He was finally dismissed in the innings` 149th over when he was bowled by Balaji on the third ball of his over. Rajat Bhatia remained unbeaten on 14 off 24 balls.
First Published: Sunday, November 25, 2012, 18:30