Did the wicket change its nature suddenly, or were the UP bowlers too good? Whatever be the case, Delhi are in a complete disarray, staring at a looming defeat.
The wicket, which had looked quite innocuous on Wednesday, apparently came alive on Thursday, what with Delhi losing as many as 11 wickets on the day. The visitors were bowled out for 202 in the first innings, and, following on, finished the day at 104 for 2.
“Pitch had nothing to do with Delhi’s collapse, it was just that we bowled well,” said Praveen Kumar, who picked up four wickets on the day.
As many as five Delhi batsmen were back in the pavilion in the first session itself. Gaurav Chabra (17) was the first to depart, falling to an attempted pull off R.P. Singh. Skipper Chopra (22) fell soon after, edging a Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivery to Suresh Raina in the slips. Rajat Bhatia failed to even open his account, falling caught and bowled to R.P. Singh, leaving Delhi reeling at 62 for 3.
Virat Kohli, batting with an injured finger, tired in vain to stem the rot. He batted for over an hour, but Praveen Kumar ended his resistance when he was on 31. Wicketkeeper Puneet Bisht found Shivakant Shukla holding on to a spectacular catch at forward short-leg to end his innings on 20.
UP picked up the remaining four wickets (Shikhar Dhawan did not bat owing to a broken thumb) in the second session to bowl out the visitors for 202. Sumit Narwal and Pradeep Sangwan though did put up some resistance down the order, stitching together a 35-run partnership, but Praveen Kumar snapped it before it could make some real difference.
Following on in the last session, Delhi were again off to a poor start, losing. Chopra for naught and Chabra for just one run. Kohli (61) and Bisht (37), however, kept the UP bowlers at bay with a 100-run partnership.