Irfan responds with five-for after Nehra grabs six
New Delhi: Ashish Nehra and Irfan Pathan were the star performers for their respective sides as the Ranji Trophy elite division match between Delhi and Baroda was interestingly poised after the end of second day.
In the morning it was Nehra, playing only his second first-class match after his comeback in the longer version, who wreaked havoc grabbing 6/102 as Baroda managed only 318 after finishing first day`s play at 273 for three.
In reply, Delhi were 250 for six -- still needing 69 runs to take the vital first innings lead. The positive thing for the hosts is that their pint-sized wicketkeeper-batsman Puneet Bisht was unbeaten on 114 and added 40 runs for the seventh wicket with Sunny Sherawat (14 batting).
Pathan (5/82) got his second five-wicket haul of the season.
The match was supposed to be the battle between the two talented swing bowlers.
Nehra and Pathan showed that they haven`t yet lost the hunger to do well. With Praveen Kumar ruled out of the Test series, the performance of the two bowlers is something that would make the selectors happy.
"I am feeling completely fit and happy to get the swing back," said the Baroda all-rounder.
Senio pro Nehra was, however, unfazed with his five-for, and didn`t sound too excited about his achievement.
The morning saw an unusual batting collapse from Baroda. They were cruising along at 284 for three when Nehra induced an edge of centurion Rakesh Solanki (113), which was taken by Bisht behind the stumps. Solanki`s innings contained 16 fours.
Shatrunjay Gaekwad (0) failed to open his account and was dismissed in the same manner by Nehra who got his third wicket.
Baroda skipper Pinal Shah (93, 189 balls, 16x4) missed his ton by seven runs as he was trapped leg-before by Parvinder Awana.
Among Baroda`s last six batsmen only Pathan (23, 4x4) got to double figures while others found it difficult to negotiate with Nehra`s controlled swing bowling.
When Delhi batted, it was a delightful sight to find Pathan swing the ball back into the right-handers as he castled Unmukt Chand (20) and trapped Yogesh Nagar (0) with incoming deliveries.
Senior player Shikhar Dhawan (32) and skipper Mithun Manhas (49) got starts but again failed to convert them into big ones.
Manhas was in fact set up by Irfan as he angled it across to the right-hander who perished trying to play a flashy shot. However, Puneet who showed signs of coming back to form against Tamil Nadu, played a fluent knock as he completed his century in 120 balls.
Brief Scores: Baroda: 1 st innings 318 all out (Rakesh Solanki 113, Pinal Shah 93, Ashish Nehra 6/102).
Delhi: 1st innings 250/6 (Puneet Bisht 114 batting, Irfan Pathan 5/82).