There is no substitute for experience. This was proved again when Delhi's Rajat Bhatia scored his tenth first class century on Saturday to help Delhi take a slender lead. Delhi got a lead of 59 runs and it could have been more but for the lower-order batting failure.
Haryana did wipe out the lead and were 94 for 2 at stumps, a lead of 35. Bhatia and debutant Milind Kumar, who began the day on 57 and 84 respectively, reached their centuries.
The conditions on Saturday morning looked helpful for the Haryana bowlers with a fog cover over the ground and the ball swinging a bit. However, unlike Friday, when both Bhatia and Milind played cautiously, the duo pushed the scoring rate on Saturday with Milind scoring a ton in the fifth over of the day as he hit two consecutive boundaries off spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.
Milind was soon caught at first slip by Sunny Singh off Sachin Rana. He had put on 151 runs with Bhatia. Wicketkeeper Punit Bisht failed once again. However, Bhatia used all his experience to guide the lower order past Haryana's first innings score of 293.
During his 293-minute stay in the middle, Bhatia hit 16 boundaries but it was a six over long on that took Bhatia past another ton in first class cricket. On the last ball before lunch, debutant Amit Vashisht bowled him off a ball that kept a little low. His dismissal proved crucial as the Delhi lower order failed to stretch Haryana. Only Pawan Negi got an unbeaten 30 as Delhi were bowled out for 352.
Though a draw looks likely, Bhatia thinks a result is possible. "If we pick some quick wickets in the morning and get around 150-odd to chase in 35-40 overs, I think there is a reasonable chance of a result," he said
Bhatia credited Milind for providing great support. "The way Milind batted on this wicket showed that he has a good technique. My role was to make sure he didn't throw it away."
For Haryana, Rana and Vashisth finished with three wickets each. When Delhi came out to bowl again, Haryana skipper and opener Rahul Dewan was trapped in front of the wickets by debutant Rishit Saini for 9. Then Nitin Saini and Sunny Singh put on 56 for the second wicket before Bhatia got rid of Saini.