Internet Desk: Veteran Gautam Gambhir played the anchors role on the other hand Kunal Chandela backed him quite well as the tons from both of them put Delhi in the driver’s seat against Bengal after they reached 271 for three on the second day of the Ranji Trophy semi-final at Pune’s MCA Stadium today.
As Bengal could only manage to score 286 runs in their first innings it is quite inevitable that Delhi will surely get the first innings lead.
The only positive aspect for Bengal was final session where Delhi scored only 51 runs losing three wickets including Gambhir (127 off 216 balls) off Mohammed Shami.
Gambhir was an epitome of calmness during his 42nd first-class hundred in company of Chandela (113 off 192 balls), who is playing only his third first-class match.
The manner in which Gambhir-Chandela duo humiliated a Bengal attack comprising Shami (23.2-3-83-1) and Ashok Dinda (18-2-86-1) looked pedestrian.
The best part about Gambhir this season has been his attitude. He has remained attached with a goal of guiding Delhi with crucial runs yet remained uninvolved like an isolated island.
A pull in front of the square followed by a square cut played on the rise off Shami set the tone.
He hit two back to back boundaries off Amir Gani to reach his hundred. Identical cover drives — one that raced through the ground and another lofted to reach the milestone in 122 balls.
When he raised his bat, the Delhi players sprinted down the stairs from dressing room to give him a standing ovation.
With Bengal playing only three and a half bowlers (Amit is an allrounder), Shami was made to bowl nearly 24 overs, something the Indian team management won’t be amused.
“It’s only Ranji Trophy. Don’t judge him by this performance,” said CAB president Sourav Ganguly about Shami.
While Delhi would be eyeing to get as much as lead in the first innings, Bengal will be relying on Mohammad Shami and Ashoke Dinda to get them back into the contest.
In another semi-final, vice-captain Karun Nair struck an unbeaten century to put former champions Karnataka in a strong position on the second day of their Ranji Trophy semifinal against Vidarbha at the Eden Gardens, on Monday.
Nair’s unbeaten 148 ensured Karnataka take a vital 109-run first innings lead over Vidarbha.
Resuming at the overnight score of 36 for three, Nair hit 20 fours and one six in his stellar knock and batted all the three sessions.
Nair thwarted an onslaught from young Vidarbha pacer Rajneesh Gurbani, who returned with his third successive five-wicket haul (5/90).
Bengal 1st Innings 286 (Sudeep Chatterjee 83, Navdeep Saini 3/55, Manan Sharma 2/37) vs Delhi 271/3 in 77.2 (Gautam Gambhir 127, Kunal Chandela 113).
Vidarbha: 185 vs Karnataka 294 for eight in 93 overs (Karun Nair 148 batting, C M Gautam 73; Rajneesh Gurbani 5/90).