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Following on, Delhi sent out on a spin

Delhi's worst fears have come true. Saurashtra spinners ? mesmerised nearly all the Delhi batsmen, writes CS Luthra.

india Updated: Dec 28, 2006 00:14 IST

Delhi's worst fears have come true. Right from the time when Delhi skipper Mithun Manhas made the mistake of inviting Saurashtra to bat first on a firm Madhavrao Scindia ground wicket, there was a likelihood that spinners could rule on the last two days of this Ranji match.

On Wednesday, the third day, the Saurashtra spinners saw the predictions coming true, as they looked set to take their first points of the season. As the visitors resumed from their overnight score of 61 for three, the two Saurashtra left-arm spinners — Rakesh Dhruve and part-timer Sitanshu Kotak — mesmerised nearly all the Delhi batsmen before forcing them to surrender for 288 after the lunch break.

A 204-run lead was good enough for Saurashtra to enforce the follow-on and gain the maximum points from the match.

Saurashtra bowlers gave hardly any impression of tiredness as they came back roaring after just 10 minutes of changeover time. At stumps, Delhi were reeling at 84 for four, with skipper Manhas (4) and Virat Kohli (2) at the crease.

Earlier, the two overnight Delhi batsmen — Manhas and Shikhar Dhawan — started the day on a positive note. Manhas, especially, looked in the mood to play his natural stroke-playing game. The four boundaries and a six off Ravindra Jadeja over long-on showed he was in a belligerent mood.

Dhawan, too, chipped in with a few flashy strokes after getting dropped at slips off left-arm pacer Sandip Jobanputra.

Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Shah, however, did not lose his patience and kept rotating his spinners.

But once again, Delhi batsmen got carried away with the flow of runs and it was an all-too-familiar situation. Manhas offered a dolly to Jadeja at covers to give Dhruve his first of the four wickets in Delhi's first innings.

After Manhas’s departure, Virat Kohli (4), Puneet Bisht (13) and debutante Suhail Sharma (14) also left in quick succession. Once Dhawan fell at his individual score of 80, follow-on seemed a reality.

The only big partnership came when in-form batsman Rajat Bhatia, along with Ashish Nehra, added 79 runs for the ninth wicket.

The two smashed the Saurashtra bowlers all over the ground. Nehra’s 43 were embellished with four boundaries and two huge sixes, while Bhatia was the last man to go after a well-made 71.

Delhi started their second knock in similar fashion with Aakash Chopra once again failing to produce a big score, while Dhawan, Bisht and Mayank Tehlan also succumbed to pressure.

For now, Delhi can only try and stop Saurashtra from taking the maximum five points by occupying the crease for the entire day on Thursday. But that would be asking for a bit too much.

Scoreboard

Saurashtra 1st innings 492

Delhi 1st innings :
(A Chopra lbw b Jobanputra 10, S Dhawan st Jogiyani b Dhruve 80, M Tehlan c Jogiyani b Jadeja 6, A Bhandari lbw b Jadeja 0, M Manhas c Jadeja b Dhruve 35, V Kohli b Dhruve  4, R Bhatia c Joshi b Kotak 71, P Bisht lbw b Makvana 13, S Sharma lbw b Dhruve 14, A Nehra c Jogiyani b Kotak 43, I Sharma not out 2. Extras -- b-4, lb-1, w-1, nb-4 -- 10). Total: 288.

Fall of wkts: 1-14, 2-44, 3-50, 4-134, 5-140, 6-147, 7-182, 8-198, 9-277.

Bowling: S Jobanputra 11-2-54-1, SM Maniar 4-0-11-0, KR Makvana 9-1-42-1, R Jadeja 28-5-80-2, R Dhruve 19-1-81-4, S Kotak 3.2-0-15-2.

Delhi 2nd innings (following on): 84 for 4 (A Chopra b Jobanputra 6, S Dhawan lbw b Jadeja 22, P Bisht lbw b Dhurv 27, M Tehlan st Jogiyani b Makvana 18, M Manhas batting 4, V Kohli batting 2.

Extras -- lb-4, nb-1 -- 5).

Fall of wkts: 1-18, 2-34, 3-77, 4-79.

Bowling: S Jobanputra 7-0-18-1, S Maniar 3-1-9-0, R Jadeja 11-7-11-1, R Dhurv 11-1-29-1, K Makvana 6-1-11-1, S Kotak 1-0-2-0.