Bhatia save Delhi blushes against Punjab

November 5th, 2008 - 10:38 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) Delhi all-rounder Rajat Bhatia missed his century by one run, but not before dousing a spirited fight back from Punjab bowlers who put the hosts in a spot of bother in the morning session. His knock saved Delhi blushes and helped them take a 43-run lead on the third day in Super Division league Ranji Trophy match here Wednesday.Openers Akash Chopra (76, 121 balls, 12×4) and Shikhar Dhawan (72, 103 balls, 9×4), who gave the hosts a solid start with a 155-run stand, fell in quick succession this morning, resuming at overnight 142. Manpreet Singh Goni provided the breakthrough, trapping Chopra legbefore. Dhawan soon followed, caught at first slip off Gagandeep Singh.

Virat Kohli walked in with lots of expectations but the Delhi teenager could only score six runs before being caught at second slip by Yuvraj Singh off Sidharth Kaul. Aditya Jain became the third batsman to fall to slip catch when he was caught by Dharmani off Gagandeep and Delhi were in trouble as four batsmen fell in 11 overs in the first hour.

Mithun Minhas and Bhatia then steadied the innings with their 73-run fifth-wicket stand with the former making a sparkling 58 off 48 balls with ten fours and a six before Kaul trapped him in front.

Bhatia, however, batted resolutely and with wicket keeper Punit Bisht (76) brought Delhi back into the match. The pair added 150 runs for the sixth wicket. Bisht should have gone at nine if only Dharmani held on to a catch off Gagandeep.

Bhatia and Bisht ensured Delhi got the three points for the first-innings lead. Bhatia became painfully slow once he touched his nineties. The pressure to reach the three figure mark got onto him as he was out leg before on 99 off leg-spinner Sarabjit Singh Ladda.

Bisht was then joined by Pradeep Sangwan and the two scored swiftly before Bisht spooned a catch to Ravi Inder Singh at the first slip off Yuvraj Singh.

Sangwan, who was so far looking good did not stay for long either and gave way his wicket in the very next ball in an attempt to steal a single.

Chetanya Nanda (0) and Ashish Nehra (0) were at the crease with match heading for a draw on the final day

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