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Delhi slip through butter-fingered Assam

Skipper Manhas slams a ton as visitors let go the early advantage.

cricket Updated: Dec 01, 2010 23:46 IST
Shalabh Manocha

A few lucky let-offs and then a ton by skipper Mithun Manhas helped Delhi take an upper hand on the opening day of their tie against Assam in the group A Ranji trophy match at the Roshanara club ground here on Wednesday.

The visitors won the toss and asked Delhi to bat first on a wicket that had something for the bowlers. Assam proved their decision when the hosts suffered the first blow in the fifth over of the innings after Shikhar Dhawan could not read an incoming delivery from Abu Ahmed and was bowled for 13.

However, Unmukt Chand and Aditya Jain stabilised the innings after being lucky to survive a few good ones as Assam fielders dropped some dollies early on.

Aditya Jain was dropped first in the seventh over when he had not yet opened his account, and then got another reprieve in the 28th over while on 45. Unmukt, too, was dropped on a score of 15.

Both of them went on to complete half centuries but Unmukt departed on 59 just a few minutes before lunch. His knock included nine boundaries and couple of sixes.

Delhi went into lunch with 132 on board. Soon after the break, Dheeraj Goswami, the pick of the Assam bowlers on the day, scalped Aditya. After the dismissal, wicketkeeper Punit Bisht was promoted up the order instead of the skipper coming in.

Although Bisht played a few attractive shots with seven boundaries, he did not last long and was trapped in front of the wicket by Goswami. On the next ball, Yogesh Nagar became Dheeraj's third victim in the slips.

With half the side back in the hut and tension clearly evident on the faces of the home team it was an unbeaten partnership of 145 runs between Mithun Manhas and Mayank Tehlan helped them recover. Manhas did not give Assam bowlers more chances and batted with authority to score his century in the last over of the day with nine boundaries and a six.

Manhas anchored the innings well along with Tehlan, who was unbeaten on 61 at stumps, with Delhi at 332 for five after being five down at 187.

After the day's play, Manhas said, "The ball moved a little in the morning and there is something for the bowlers here, but I and Mayank decided to play each ball on its merit which worked in our favour."

When asked if it was a good toss to lose, Manhas added, "No, I too would have bowled first on this pitch considering the ball was doing a bit through the day. I expect it to continue in the same manner on the second day also."