Ranji Trophy 2012-13: Sehwag, Manhas hang in for Delhi as UP press for outright win

Biswajit Jha

Ghaziabad: Suresh Raina and Praveen Kumar scored half-centuries as Uttar Pradesh took a healthy 168-run lead over Delhi before their bowlers took four crucial Delhi wickets to give them a chance to go for an outright win.

Delhi were leading by 29 runs with 6 wickets in hand when umpires decided to end 3rd day’s play due to bad light. If Uttar Pradesh can dismiss Sehwag and Manhas early on the last day, they have a great chance of registering an outright win.

After conceding lead, Delhi began poorly in their second innings losing 4 wickets for 146 runs. But Mithun Manhas and injured Virender Sehwag, who came out to bat at No. 6, ensured that they did not lose more wickets in the final session. They stiched an unbeaten stand of 51 runs to give some solidity to the Delhi innings.

At the end of Day 3, Delhi were fighting on 197/4. Manhas was batting on 63 while Sehwag was unbeaten on 21 when umpires decided to call off the match early.

Final Session

The highlights of the last session were Mithun Manhas’s fine fifty and end of speculations over Virender Sehwag’s injury. From 120/3 at tea Delhi managed to score 57 runs in the last session. They extended their lead to 29 runs.

Sehwag came out to bat at No. 6 after Punit Bist was dismissed by Imtiaz Ahmed for 14. Delhi were 146/4 and were in danger of being dismissed below 250.

Sehwag came to bat Delhi out of the woods. Though he looked to be in pain sometimes due to his injured finger, he supported Manhas well.

The way he was batting, it was obvious that everything was not well as he was not in his usual self. He was very scratchy in the beginning but with time he grew in confidence and hit some lovely boundaries off Raina.

Ashish Nehra was the pick of the bowlers for Delhi on Sunday as he took 3 wickets out of four giving away 28 runs in 9 overs.

Manhas, meanwhile, completed a smooth fifty with eight hits to the fence.

Tea Report

Delhi started their second innings on a negative note as they lost opener Unmukt Chand for a first ball duck. Delhi were 6/1 at that stage.

Chand, who opened the innings in the absence of injured Virender Sehwag, was trapped in front of the wickets by the wily Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Gambhir and Virat Kohli then did the repairing job perfectly, put on a well-paced 70-run stand. But left-arm spinner Ali Murtaza had the former caught by wicketkeeper Amir Khan. Gambhir’s 63-ball knock consisted of 4 boundaries.

Kohli, as always, looked to be in good touch and seemed to put up a big score which could have helped his side save the match. He and Mithun Manhas tried to resurrect the innings with a 33-run partnership. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled a perfect outswinger to induce an edge which was neatly taken by wicketkeeper Amir Khan.

At tea, Delhi were 120/3. Manhas was playing on 22* while Punit Bist was on 0*. Delhi were trailing by 48 runs with 7 wickets in hand. If Sehwag does not come out to bat in the innings, this is Delhi’s last recognised pair.

Lunch Report

Suresh Raina and Praveen Kumar scored two contrasting fifties as Uttar Pradesh took a healthy lead of 168 runs over Delhi at lunch on Day 3 of the Group B Ranji Trophy encounter at Ghaziabad on Sunday.

Uttar Pradesh were bowled out for 403 at the stroke of lunch with Praveen Kumar remaining unbeaten on an entertaining 51. His knock was laced with 5 fours and 2 sixes.

Resuming on 292/6 Uttar Pradesh scored 111 runs in the morning session on Day 3 with the loss of the last four wickets.

Raina, meanwhile, made a compact 55 before being dismissed by Sumit Narwal. He looked very compact from the outset of day two. Unlike Saturday when he was totally in defensive mood, on Sunday he played his shots whenever loose balls were offered by the Delhi bowlers.

After his dismissal Praveen started to use the long handle with good effect. He took a special liking for left-arm spinner Vikas Misra, hoicking him for two straight sixes. The last wicket pair put on 38 runs for the hosts which helped them take a first innings lead of 168 runs.

Ashish Nehra was the pick of the bowlers for Delhi today as he took 3 wickets out of four, giving away 28 runs in 9 overs.