Ishant Sharma looked cut above rest on a docile track as Railways were reduced to 58 for five after Manan Sharma’s maiden ton enabled Delhi reach 447 on the second day of a Ranji Trophy group A encounter, here today.
In his fifth first class season for Delhi, left-handed Manan scored 136 off 216 balls and then took 2 for 18 in 11 overs with his accurate left-arm orthodox spin, putting Delhi in the driver’s seat.
On a track, where Railway pacers could hardly work up pace, Delhi skipper Ishant’s very first delivery saw left-handed Saurabh Wakaskar (0) failing to get his bat down in time with his stumps rattled.
Ishant (11-6-12-3) then got one to straighten that had No. 3 Nitin Bhille squared up and Dhruv Shorey completing a regulation catch in the slip cordon.
The Railways batsmen found Ishant’s pace too hot to handle as they repeatedly got rapped on the pads.
He bowled in two spells and got the ball to reverse in the second spell removing the dogged Shivakant Shukla (29 off 99 balls) with one that left him and the edge was taken by Shorey at second slip.
Buoyed by his hundred, Manan then got wickets of Arindam Ghosh (5) and Abhishek Yadav (1) with arm balls leaving Railways tottering by the end of the day.
Earlier, Manan in company of Pulkit Narang (55 off 183 balls) added 117 runs for the seventh wicket to play out the entire first session of the second day.
Manan, whose previous highest first-class score of 82, had strokes on all sides of the wicket. His footwork was assured and left a good number of deliveries outside the off-stump. But the moment he got half volleys, a drive was there for the taking.
In all, he hit 17 boundaries and was finally holed out in the mid-off trying to loft left-arm medium pacer Deepak Bansal.
Narang hung around as he hit six boundaries in his maiden half century to take Delhi closer to the 450-run mark before being the last man to be dismissed.
“It wasn’t the most difficult wicket to bat on but also you cannot just hang around. It was a wicket where you needed to play your shots. I should have got a first-class century earlier but I am happy that I have finally got one,” Manan said after the match.
On how the pitch behaved, he said: “Look, Ishant is an international bowler and that makes a difference. The gulf in quality was for everyone to see. Yes, there are a few cracks on both sides of the wicket. When we are hitting those areas, there’s turn on offer and it’s going to widen. But overall, easy wicket to bat on,” he concluded.
Delhi 1st innings: 447 (Manan Sharma 136, Nitish Rana 89, Anuj Rawat 74, Pulkit Narang 55, Anureet Singh 4/92)
Railways 1st Innings: 58/5 (Ishant Sharma 3/12, Manan Sharma 2/18).
At Mysore: Assam 144 in 59.1 overs (Gokul Sharma 55; Shreyas Gopal 3/43) vs Karnataka 404/6 in 110 overs (Krishnappa Gowtham 129 not out, Ravikumar Samarth 123; Swarupam Purkayastha 3/80).
At Hyderabad: Hyderabad vs Uttar Pradesh. No play on day two.