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Delhi on the mat

cricket Updated: Nov 18, 2011 01:02 IST
Debjeet Kundu
Debjeet Kundu
Hindustan Times
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The Delhi dressing room would be wondering what if Rajat Bhatia had shown less affection to his dog - the all-rounder sat out injured after he cut his hand while playing with his pet on Wednesday.

But the way Lakhshmipathy Balaji, V Yomahesh and Jagannathan Kaushik made the Delhi batsmen dance to their tune on Day 1 of the Ranji Trophy Super League Group B tie, Bhatia's presence wouldn't have changed much. There were quite a few other reasons why the hosts were bundled out by Tamil Nadu for 212 on Thursday at the Ferozes Kotla.

Riding a storm
Shikhar Dhawan had made five off 19 balls when he opened against Gujarat last week. On Thursday, he chose a more stringent budget - he holed out at gully while trying an expansive drive off Balaji after hitting a boundary in the first over of the match.

There's no point speculating over how India's much-feted batting line-up would have fared against Fidel Edwards and Kemar Roach had the pitch looked this green two weeks ago at the Ferozshah Kotla.

But the fact that the home team was uncomfortable against the Tamil Nadu quickies was evident.

Unmukht Chand and Milind Kumar tried to weather the storm but that dried up the runs. It was only when Mithun Manhas walked in at the fall of Milind, did a partnership got going. But that wasn't for long. Manhas edged spinner Aushik Srinivas while attempting a lazy cut, and Chand poured water on the hard work when he threw away his wicket to Kaushik on 86.

"If you are consistently getting into the 70s and 80s, why not get to that big one," said Manhas, on his top-scorer of the day. "That's when you need to concentrate harder."

Early wrap up

The noose became a stranglehold after tea - only 26 runs came off 21 overs. Balaji and Srinivas decided not to prolong the ordeal as the last five wickets were wrapped up in just six overs.

Yogesh Nagar scored his fifty, but perished trying to hit consecutive sixes off Kaushik, who was happy to pick up three wickets on debut. "I didn't expect it would be this good," said the Chennai boy, thanking the conditions and senior pro Yomahesh for "letting me have the new ball".

As for Delhi, it's now up to their senior-most bowler, Ashish Nehra, to return the favour early on Friday morning. Else, Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund can be a pain for the bowlers.