On a day where momentum shifted from one dressing room to the other at the Roshanara,it finally came to a rest with the away side,Haryana. Thanks to some quality fast bowling by left-arm pacer Sanjay Budhwar,who bagged four wickets including Gautam Gambhirs,Delhi found themselves in a spot of bother on the first day of this Ranji Trophy Group A clash.
Budhwar,however,wasnt alone. Moving the ball about on the fresh Roshanara wicket on Thursday was the Haryana veteran Joginder Sharma,who dismissed both Virender Sehwag and Mithun Manhas in single-digits with unplayable outswingers. Had it not been for Rajat Bhatia and Punit Bisht and the 59 rearguard runs they scored for the fifth wicket,Delhi would surely have finished the day far worse than they actually did at 194/8.
Haryanas bowlers utilised the juice available on a first day wicket and ensured that they kept one side of the ball nice and shiny. Having won the toss and elected to bowl first,Joginder began proceedings and explained the workings of the wicket to his new ball partner Budhwar at the end of the over. Budhwar was clearly listening,because five balls into his first over,Unmukt Chand was gone caught at covers after checking his drive.
In came Sehwag,walking past the three slips and a gully placed specifically for him. Both Joginder and Budhwar bowl to the field,getting the ball to curve away from a length. Sehwag shouldered arms in the beginning. But then,on ball nine,he poked at a ball he shouldnt have poked at and was beaten. Now,Sehwag resembled not the former India opening great but a man who has scored just 63 runs in his last five attempts in domestic cricket.
With the runs drying up and the ball count constantly increasing,the inevitable happened. Sehwag nicked a Joginder outswinger. The wicketkeeper,Nitin Saini,did the rest. Sehwag was gone for a 30-ball 3 and Haryana captain,Harshal Patel,was more than happy to give his strike bowlers a rest. In came first change Ashish Hooda,who all but dismissed Gambhir,who was dropped at first slip. Gambhir was on 12. The life would only carry him only for 17 more runs,after which score Budhwar cleaned up the Delhi opener. The ball pitched on off and darted through Gambhirs gate and on to his middle stump.
At lunch Delhi were 55/4. Also by lunch,with the early departures of both Sehwag and Gambhir,Haryana had made this match into a battle of equals.
Brief scores: Delhi 194/8 in 84 overs (R Bhatia 39,P Bisht 33,Sanjay Budhwar 4/56)