New Delhi: Haryana managed a slender 35 runs lead with eight wickets remaining as Delhi bowlers would need to put in a Herculean effort on the final day of their opening Elite Group Ranji Trophy game at the Roshanara ground.
Starting the third day`s play at a comfortable 214 for three, the Delhi lower-order caved in as they lost the final five wickets for only 34 runs to finish their first innings at 352 thereby enjoying a lead of only 59 runs.
At stumps, Haryana were 93 for two having erased the deficit and taken a lead of 35 runs. Medium pacers Rajat Bhatia (1/15) and Rishit Saini (1/21) shared the spoils.
With Roshanara pitch not assisting the bowlers, the home team bowlers would need to produce a special effort on the final day in order to enforce an outright result.
Delhi started the day with both their overnight batsmen Milind Kumar and Rajat Bhatoa reaching their individual milestones. Debutant Milind who had impressed one and all on Saturday, duly completed his maiden first class century.
Along with senior-pro Bhatia, 151 runs were added for the fourth wicket before Milind (119, 245 balls, 19x4) was caught by Sunny Singh off Sachin Rana`s bowling.
Puneet Bisht (5) was out cheaply but Delhi`s eternal `Crisis Man` Bhatia carried on manfully as he completed his 10th first-class century with a big six off T20 specialist leggie Yuzvendra Chahal.
Along with Pawan Negi (30), Bhatia added 41 runs for the sixth wicket before he was bowled by Amit Vashist. The all-rounder scored 107 runs in 200 balls with the help of 16 boundaries and a six. Once Bhatia was gone, there wasn`t much resistance from lower middle-order which became an impediment towards garnering a sizeable first-inning lead.
Brief Scores: Haryana 293 & 93/2 (Nitin Saini 44, Sunny Singh 38 batting, R Bhatia 1/15). Delhi 352 (Milind Kumar 119, R Bhatia 107, P Negi 30 not out, S Rana 3/68, A Vashist 3/80).