Slow and scratchy were the two words that summed up Delhi’s innings at the Roshanara ground on Wednesday.
In contrast to Saurashtra’s effort, which saw them post 328 on Tuesday, Delhi got off to a rather slow start and ended Day II on an unimpressive 262 for seven.
Ankur Julka and Aditya Jain were in obvious discomfort against seamers Sandeep Jobanputra and Jayesh Odedra, who cramped the openers for room. Old warhorse Jobanputra’s morning spell, which lasted 88 minutes, may not have yielded a wicket, but it went a long way towards curbing the run flow. The strategy was simple — Odedra went for the wickets and Jobanputra stemmed the flow of runs.
Jain did try to up the scoring rate, but before he could make headway, Odedra got the better of him with a good-length ball that kept low and disturbed the stumps.
It took Jain three hours and 120 balls to reach a meagre 36. Debutant Julka was the next to follow. Trying to nudge a moving delivery from Odedra, at the stroke of lunch, Julka was caught behind by wicketkeeper Sagar Jogiyani. His 38 came off 83 balls and included six fours. At lunch, Delhi were 86/2, as against Saurashtra, who were cruising at this stage on Tuesday at 150/3.
The second session too didn’t witness fireworks from the hosts, who were focused on forging a partnership, which was hard to come by. The man who played a stellar role in ensuring that Delhi kept struggling was greenhorn Jayesh Odedra. Playing in his first match of the season, he returned with figures of 24-6-71-5.
What was striking about the medium pacer’s opening spell, during which he scalped three batsmen, including veteran Mithun Manhas, was that it lasted 17 overs. Like the rest, skipper Virat Kohli looked uncertain during his stay. He could have departed on 20 had Ravindra Jadeja not dropped him off Jobanputra. Kohli finally fell to Sandip Maniar for 39.
Rajat Bhatia, who had saved Delhi the blushes by claiming the in-form Chirag Pathak and Cheteshwar Pujara yesterday, could not do much with the bat and fell to Maniar for 33.
The scoreboard read a dismal 197-6, and the onus was on the bowlers to stage a rescue act. At stumps, Delhi were 262/7 with Puneet Bisht (49) and Pradeep Sangwan (19) fighting it out with an unbeaten 47-run stand.
Sangwan hit the only six of the day by carting Odedra over long on.
Dav on talent hunt?
Kolkata Knight Riders coach Dav Whatmore made his presence felt. After spending some time with Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya, assistant coach of KKR, he met DDCA secretary Sunil Dev and some Saurashtra cricketers, giving rise to speculation that he was talent scouting.