Virender Sehwag finally got some runs under his belt scoring a fluent half-century as Delhi batsmen led by Mithun Manhas made a mockery of a below-par Vidarbha attack to remain on course for a comprehensive innings victory in a Ranji Trophy encounter here today.
Veteran Manhas (100) struck his 25th first-class century,while Sehwag hit some of his vintage shots during his 72-ball-56 as Delhi scored 448 for nine at stumps taking an overall lead of 360 runs at the end of the second day.
This was Sehwag’s first first-class half-century of the season.
The pitch had bounce and lateral movement but it was the difference in class of the Delhi batsmen that was evident during the day.
Even glovesman Rahul Yadav (81,8×4,4×6) and Ashish Nehra (57,5×4,4×6) made merry with 122-run partnership for the eighth wicket as Vidarbha bowlers had a resigned look at the end of the day.
The duo hit as many as eight sixes between them all were clean hits with Nehra scoring his first 50 in senior level cricket.
All eyes were on the Roshnara track today after play was halted for 28 minutes yesterday with BCCI’s chief curator Daljeet Singh also arriving to have a look at the proceedings.
But Sehwag and Manhas during their 101-run stand in 18 overs showed how to bat on a track that has grass and the bounce is a bit on the steeper side at times.
A backfoot punch off Amol Jungade,a late cut after walking down the pitch off Sandeep Sharma and some signature smoking cover drives off Ravi Thakur would certainly increase Sehwag’s confidence.
A Shrikant Wagh yorker was dug out effortlessly as the ball raced to the mid-wicket fence while a forward defensive punch through mid-on brought up his 50 off 62 balls with nine fours.
Manhas,on the other hand,brought up his third century of the season with shots all round the wicket. He played the square cut and the cover drive with a lot of flair as he brought up his century with a boundary off Thakur and was dismissed off the very next delivery that kept low.
Sehwag,who had 10 boundaries in his 56,was looking good for a big one before he tried to hoick Faiz Fazal (4/48) out of the ground but skied one for rival captain Shalabh Srivastava to run backwards from his mid-off position to take a catch.
“It wasn’t a very easy wicket to bat on but we didn’t leave out any loose deliveries as we have played shots all around the wicket. There was bounce and movement but you can play your shots on this kind of track once you get set,” Manhas told reporters after the end of the day’s play.
He is again the top scorer for Delhi this season with 519 runs so far but for Manhas,it is just a job that he is doing.
“Motivation is never a factor for me. Just like you guys (journalists) have a job to report,my job is to score runs when I go out there. It’s what I am assigned to do. Well,if I don’t want to do it,then someone else will come in my place and do the job for the team,” the old warhorse commented.
Delhi: 448 for 9 (Mithun Manhas 100,Virender Sehwag 56,Gautam Gambhir 49,Rahul Yadav 81,Ashish Nehra 57)