Mediocrity has been the hallmark of Delhi’s Ranji campaign this season. Tuesday was no different. Opting to bowl on a ‘so-called green top’, the hosts could manage only three Baroda wickets on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘B’ match at the Ferozshah Kotla.
The day belonged to Baroda’s Rakesh Solanki who hit an unbeaten century, which could be divided into two phases — aggression followed by a grind. At stumps, Baroda were 273 for 5 off 85 overs when bad light stopped play.
Though Delhi had a promising start, they failed to capitalise on it due to dropped catches. Ashish Nehra gave the breakthrough after Aditya Waghmode played one into the hands of Unmukt Chand at forward short leg.
In his next over, Milind Kumar dropped Solanki on 4. Rookie Sunny Sehrawat, who made his debut, got his maiden scalp in the ninth over by trapping opener Kedar Devdhar leg before.
Baroda recovered from the early jolts with Solanki and Ambati Rayudu coming hard at the Delhi bowlers despite the ball swinging in the first session. Rayudu (39) threw his wicket away as Shikhar Dhawan caught him in the slips off Rajat Bhatia.
Dhawan was guilty of dropping Solanki off Vikas Mishra soon after the batsman had completed his fifty in just 69 deliveries at the stroke of lunch.
The second session was a dull one with just 83 runs coming off 30 overs. It was not that Delhi bowled exceptionally well, but because Solanki and skipper Pinal Shah played cautiously.
Shah scored yet another half century after tea, but the focus was on Solanki who went into a shell. He took another 100 balls for his next 50 runs to reach his fifth Ranji ton.
Solanki said he got overcautious as he neared the ton. “Two seasons ago I was dropped from the team and had been waiting to score a big one.”