On Thursday,the entire Delhi team had clapped and cheered as Mithun Manhas cut a chocolate cake to celebrate his Ranji game No.100. A couple of days later,however,the Delhi skipper’s special game has become a nightmare of sorts for him.
Following on,Delhi were precariously placed at 170/5 with Manhas batting on 50 at the end of Day Three. They need another 117 runs to make Gujarat bat again. On a day when 12 wickets fell,everything went Gujarat’s way,except when seamer Amit Singh was called for suspect action.
The mayhem started when Bhatia retired on 37 having suffered from neck spasms in the 45th over. He was forced to come out and resume his innings by the 63rd over because Delhi suffered a collapse within those 18 overs. His overnight partner Unmukt Chand,who started the day on 71,continued to bat in a stroke-filled manner. He,however,fell when he tried to hit a cover-drive against debutant off-spinner Jesal Karia. Unmukt made 93.
Priyank Panchal’s part-time,seam-up deliveries fetched him magical figures of 2.1-2-0-3. Bhatia was dismissed for 45 and Delhi folded up for 233.
Gujarat bowlers,not the most skillful or the sharpest in the domestic cricket,bowled a disciplined line and tested the batsmen’s patience and temperament. Seamer Ishwar Chaudhary kept bending his back and looked to bowl quick throughout while spinners Salil Yadav and Jesal Karia kept it full.
Shikhar Dhawan was in good touch and hit a series of cover drives against seamers Ishwar Chaudhary and Amit Singh. Dhawan,reached his half-century in just 55 balls with 48 runs coming from boundaries. In the company of Manhas,he took the team at 87/2 at tea.
Dhawan fell soon after tea for 77 from 79 balls with 16 boundaries as Parthiv completed a smart diving catch. The Gujarat captain had a great day with the gloves,with five dismissals,including two great takes on the on-side.
The only blemish on an otherwise spotless day for Gujarat was when medium pacer Amit Singh was called for a suspect action twice by umpire K Srinath in the 33rd over and had to be taken off the attack.
Singh,who has been reported twice before in domestic cricket and twice during IPL 2009 for the Rajasthan Royals,had undergone corrective measures,but on-field umpires Srinath and Umesh Dubey,in consultation with match referee B Raghunath,agreed that his action needed a fresh scrutiny. Meanwhile,Bhatia didn’t come out to bat but the Delhi camp were confident that he would be seen in action on Sunday.
Brief scores: Delhi 233 (Unmukt Chand 93,Rajat Bhatia 45; Priyank Panchal 3/0,Faizal Dudhat 2/45,Ishwar Chaudhary 2/67) & F/O 170 for 5 (M Manhas batting 50,Shikhar Dhawan 77) vs Gujarat 520