New Delhi: In what turned out to be an exciting day of first-class cricket, hosts Delhi capitalised on a slender four-run first innings lead to take control of their Ranji Trophy group league encounter against Vidarbha.
After scoring 302 in their first innings courtesy an 88-run ninth-wicket stand between Manan Sharma (53) and debutant Sarang Rawat (42), Delhi bowlers came back strongly to reduce Vidarbha to 47 for four in their second essay.
An outright victory looks imminent as Vidarbha are only 43 runs ahead with six wickets in hand.
The day belonged to Manan and Sarang who ensured at least three points for Delhi after they were reduced to 196/8 after being 161 for two at one stage.
Nitish Rana (61) was caught at silly point while Gautam Gambhir's (96) six and half hour stay at the crease ended when he tried a slog sweep off Akshay Wakhare (5/113) only to get bowled.
He hit 12 boundaries in 236 balls but his dismissal put tremendous pressure on the middle order as Milind Kumar (20) and Vaibhav Rawal (0) were dismissed cheaply.
Once Sumit Narwal (1) was bowled, it looked Delhi would concede a huge lead but the young duo had other ideas.
Sarang showed bravado by declining to use helmet against pacers while playing with straight bat and Manan played a few glorious cover drives as they took the score to 284.
Sarang's 42 came off 113 balls with five fours while Manan's 53 came off 104 deliveries with seven fours and huge six off Wakhare.
The lead came when Ishant Sharma (3) played and missed a Wakhare delivery that went for four byes.
Buoyed by the small lead, Delhi bowlers came out all guns blazing as Pradeep Sangwan (2/22) castled Faiz Fazal and then induced dangerous looking Wasim Jaffer (20) who was caught brilliantly by stand-in captain Unmukt Chand diving to his left in the slip cordon.
Ishant Sharma (1/9) then bowled flat out to trouble the batsmen with sheer pace as Ganesh Sathish (9 batting) failed to touch four consecutive deliveries. An identical ball saw Shalabh Srivastava edge one to Mohit Ahlawat behind stumps.
In between Manan removed S Badrinath, having him plumb in front to give his team complete command over proceedings.
Vidarbha: 298 & 47/4 (Pradeep Sangwan 2/22, Ishant Sharma 1/9)
Delhi: 1st innings 302 (Gautam Gambhir 96, Nitish Rana 61, Manan Sharma 53, Sarang Rawat 42, Akshay Wakhare 5/113).