Gujaratis are known for their sweet language and sweet tooth. On Thursday, the sweet timing from the bats of Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel and middle-order batsman Niraj Patel fetched them centuries, and put Delhi on the back-foot on the opening day of the Elite Group B Ranji Trophy tie here.
At stumps, the home team was well placed on 358 for 6. Parthiv scored his second consecutive century, while Niraj also made the Delhi bowlers toil on a hot day, even as the visitors could not exploit the bounce on the track. Parthiv made his intentions known from the first ball itself as he hit a cracking cover drive off a no ball from Pradeep Sangwan. He followed it up with a straight drive to the fence.
In the second over, however, Parvinder Awana got last match's centurion Priyank Panchal caught behind. Debutant Avi Barot, who joined the skipper in the middle, looked in form and matched Parthiv shot for shot. He demoralised Delhi off-spinner Manoj Chauhan, hitting him for a six over long-on and a four through covers in his first over.
Earlier, Delhi included Chauhan in place of left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, while Yogesh Nagar, who has a good batting record against Gujarat, came in place of medium pacer Rishit Saini.
For Gujarat, Barot, Faizal Dhudaht and Jeshal Karia made their debuts. In the 37th over, it was rare miss from Barot, who, while trying to pull left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra, was bowled on 45, thus missing on big score which everyone thought was for the taking. Parthiv and Barot shared a 99-run stand.
Parthiv, who scored 143 against Bengal, cut and pulled in trademark fashion and reached the 90-run mark before lunch. In the second over after the break, he scored his second consecutive ton. But soon after reaching the milestone, he was held at forward shot-leg by Unmukt Chand.
Gujarat could not score at the same pace after that, but the top-order batsmen had done the damage. Niraj took over from Parthiv and scored his 13th first-class century. Others rallied around him and got starts but missed converting them into big scores.