Gautam Gambhir is a man of words. After the Indore Test against New Zealand, Gambhir said he would use the next two Ranji Trophy matches as a platform to make an impression ahead of the five-Test series against England. The Delhi skipper kept his word, coming up with a century against Odisha.
On Day Two of the Group B match at the PCA stadium, Gambhir came up with a fighting 147 to propel Delhi to a 114-run lead. In reply to Odisha’s first innings 237, Delhi ended the day at 351 for seven in 100 overs.
Resuming overnight at 43 without loss, Delhi began the second day’s proceedings with openers Gambhir and Unmukt Chand batting with authority. Gambhir played with intent in the morning session but Unmukt became the first casualty for Delhi. Dhruv Shorey and Nitish Rana too perished and with the score reading 141 for three, the match was tantalisingly poised.
Thereafter, Gambhir and Rishabh Pant got together and stitched a partnership of 114 runs for the fourth wicket. Gambhir was fluent in his approach and unleashed an array of strokes. The opener who has played for India in 57 Tests, however, got cautious after lunch in his 90s.
Pant got the scoreboard ticking and kept rotating the strike, taking the pressure off Gambhir. He hammered a 56-ball 60 before he was removed by off-spinner Dhiraj Singh. Right after his fall, Delhi received the biggest jolt, losing Gambhir for 147. He played a loose shot and offered a catch in the short-cover region off Dhiraj’s bowling, leaving Delhi at 274 for five. His knock came off 232 balls and included 18 boundaries.
Varun Sood and Sumit Narwal were the next to go. At the end of the day, Milind Kumar (39) and Manan Sharma (6) were at the crease.