Punjab’s late collapse on day two undid two days’ worth of good work as they slipped from a position of advantage to parity at the end of day two at Patiala. Delhi’s left arm spinners Varun Sood and Manan Sharma pulled the side back into the game with seven wickets between them to nullify the effort of Mandeep Singh who made 82.
For most of the day, Punjab looked like they would gather a healthy first innings lead and try and go for the win. Punjab had lost only four wickets to get to within 13 behind Delhi’s first innings of 249, score thanks to from Mandeep, Himanshu Chawla and Gurkeerat Singh.
Then, the spinners struck, twirling out the six remaining wickets for 27 runs. Delhi, though they had conceded the first innings lead, started briskly. Unmukt Chand and Gautam Gambhir took the side to 48 for no loss, edging ahead by 34 runs.
With two days remaining to be played, a result is now a possiblity and Delhi will hope its batsmen will continue the good work of the bowlers.
The pitch behaved better on day two and the third wicket pair of Mandeep and Himanshu took no chances, playing close to their bodies. Mandeep, in particular, waited for lose deliveries and timed the ball crisply when given the chance. Himanshu, on the other hand, relied on singles before he settled in. With Delhi getting batted out of the game, Varun Sood and Manan Sharma seemed to try something different in bowling quicker.
The duo, however, ended up firing it into the batsmen’s pads, allowing the batsmen to break the shackles for the first time in the day. Just as Himanshu looked set to go well beyond his maiden fifty, Sood caught him napping with a delivery that skid and kept low. An 86-run partnership was broken but Yuvaj Singh’s entry sent the run-rate shot up a notch and Punjab went to lunch at 151/3.
With Punjab in the driver’s seat, Delhi were expected to do something different and that came in the shape of off spinner Shivam Sharma. After beating the outside edge of Yuvraj on his first delivery, he found it off his second. The ‘keeper pouched it and Delhi were clawing back. The new batsman Gurkeerat, however, started out confidently with strong punches and drives; along with Mandeep he took Punjab to within 13 runs of Delhi’s total.
With Mandeep now on 82 Delhi once again sought the services of their golden arm — Shivam. Shivam obliged the side again as he castled Mandeep. Then, the left arm spinners took over.
Brief scores: Delhi 248 & 48/0 in 18 overs. Punjab 263 in 79.2 overs (M Singh 82, G Mann 57, H Chawla 50; V Sood 4/73, M Sharma 3/51).