Mayank Tehlan never looked under pressure when he walked in to bat at No. 3 after the fall of Delhi opener Aakash Chopra on Sunday. His strides were as confident as they were exactly a year ago when he made 176 on debut against Maharashtra.
Tehlan repeatedly failed to get any decent score in his next five Ranji Trophy games after that memorable knock but he never lost confidence in his abilities, despite being dropped in this season’s opener against Tamil Nadu.
Though the next 300 minutes in the middle were not easy for this 20-yearold, he successfully altered his gameplan. Instead of showing his trademark flamboyance, Tehlan curbed his shots to some extent to negate the effects of some negative bowling tactics by the Baroda spinners. And that paid him rich dividends.
Tehlan’s unbeaten knock of 108 was not only enough to cement his place in this batting-dominated Delhi side, it was also instrumental in driving his side easily past the Baroda total of 244. When bad light stopped play 12 overs before the scheduled end, Delhi were comfortably placed at 256 for three, 11 runs ahead of Baroda, at the end of the second day’s play.
Baroda started the day on a high when they removed the in-form Chopra in the fifth over of the day. His partner Shikhar Dhawan built a 55-run second-wicket partnership with Tehlan before gifting his wicket to left-arm spinner Rajesh Pawar.
Dhawan was going steady at 40 when he chose to go aerial over the tall Yousuf Pathan. The most useful partnership for the hosts came after the fall of Dhawan as skipper Mithun Manhas regained his master touch for the first time in the season.
With Tehlan playing sensibly at one end, Manhas continuously pushed the scoreboard ahead with some calculated hitting and wellplaced singles. The next 135 runs between the two came in 215 balls, with the skipper showing the way to his junior partner.
The most difficult time came for Delhi after the lunch interval when the Baroda spinners drifted to a negative line. They curbed the run flow and invited both Delhi batsmen to play some risky shots. Tehlan was most likely to fall into their trap but the second-year student at the local Hindu College showed a different characteristic of his batting.
“I didn’t plan anything before except that I told myself to stay longer at the wicket,” said Tehlan. On curbing his natural flamboyance on Sunday, Tehlan said, “The ball was keeping low quite often and it was not easy to go for the shots. So, I just wait ed for the right deliveries and didn’t go for any kind of shot during the period when the Baroda bowlers were bowling to a negative line.”
Manhas was the only wicket that fell after the tea session, falling to a simple bat-pad catch at silly point for 70. Tehlan continued his good work with another youngster, Virat Kohli.
With Delhi now assured of two points from their third successive match, it would be interesting to see if they go for some quick runs on Monday to go for an outright victory. “We will definitely try to get Baroda out for second time. But for that, we’ll have to bat for another 50 to 60 overs and then put them in in the last session,” said Manhas.
Baroda 1st innings 244
Delhi Ist innings Chopra c Shah b Pathan 9 Dhawan c Yousuf b Pawar 40 Tehlan batting 108 Manhas c Irshad b Pawar 70 Kohli batting 11 Extras (b-8, lb-2, nb-8) 18 Total (3 wkts; in 80 ovs) 256 Fall of wkts: 1-22, 2-77, 3-212 Bowling: Patel 22-2-79-0, I Pathan 17-4 30-1, Panchal 7-1-23-0, Pawar 25-6- 61-2, Yousuf 8-0-48-0, Bhoite 1-0-5-0.