Irani Trophy: Delhi struggling against Rest of India

September 26th, 2008 - 9:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Vadodara, Sep 26 (IANS) Ranji Trophy champions Delhi will be struggling to get 264 more runs with seven wickets in hand to beat Rest of India and win the Irani Trophy when they resume at 113 for three on the fourth day Saturday.At the close of play on the third day of the five-day match, Gautam Gambhir was still there, leading the fight with a gritty unbeaten 51.

ROI, who made 252 runs in the first innings, managed to reach 302 in the second thanks to a belligerent 84 from Mahendra Singh Dhoni, to set a 378-run target for Delhi. The Ranji Trophy champions were skittled out for 177 in the first innings.

Disaster struck from Delhi in the post lunch session, when opener Aakash Chopra twisted his ankle while chasing a ball. Chopra failed to open the innings and given the nature of his injury he can bat on the fourth day but only with a runner.

In the absence of Chopra, Delhi captain Virender Sehwag (3) came out to bat but failed to give the team a good start and was trapped leg before the wicket in the third over by Zaheer Khan.

Virat Kolhi (16) showed some promise but inexperience cost him his wicket. The 19-year-old was trapped leg before by the wily Zaheer, playing across.

Gambhir, however, played a sensible knock, controlling his aggression. Gambhir and Rajat Bhatia (31) started the repair work with a 76-run partnership for the third wicket. The duo looked in fine touch but off-spinner Harbhajan Singh struck with the last ball of the day by dismissing Bhatia, caught behind.

Earlier, a patient 69 by former India captain Rahul Dravid and Dhoni’s 84 off 113 balls helped ROI make 302. Leg-spinner Chetanya Nanda picked up five for 58 and fast bowler Ishant Sharma scalped three for 52.

Resuming at their overnight 99 for one, ROI batsmen scored 112 runs, losing four wickets, in the first session.

Sharma troubled the ROI batsmen in a long fiery first spell this morning. He bowled five maiden overs on the trot and overnight batsman Subramaniam Badrinath (36) played on for the second time in the match. Mohammed Kaif survived one ball before snicking Sharma to wicketkeeper Puneet Bisht. Kaif thus lost an opportunity to impress the selectors.

Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman (18) then stitched a 42-run partnership to keep the Delhi bowlers at bay. Laxman was in fluent touch and fell at a time when he was looking settled. He tried to hit Nanda against the spin and the leading edge flew to substitute Mayank Tehlan.

Dravid played patiently for his 100th first class half-century off 173 balls. His 211-ball innings came to an end when he cut Nanda to first-slip Aakash Chopra.

Dhoni batted briskly, smacking Delhi captain Sehwag for a couple of fours over long-on. He added 55 runs with Dravid for the fifth wicket. Dhoni hardly found any support from the other end except Rudra Pratap Singh who made 24.

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