March 12, 2001

Tamil Nadu in command against Delhi

Tamil Nadu are well placed to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Ranji Trophy, after the third day in their pre-quarter-final match against Delhi at the IIT-Chemplast Ground in Chennai, on Monday. Delhi were 354/7 at close of play, chasing the mammoth Tamil Nadu score of 592.

Resuming on 32/1, the Delhi batsmen soon got themselves into trouble. Gautam Gambhir, the junior India opening batsmen plays so well outside the off stump and his timing is exquisite. But he needs to understand that against top-level opposition he simply cannot chase at every ball outside the off stump. He is always a candidate for a caught behind and today too, he was held by wicketkeeper Reuben Paul off the bowling of medium pacer Shrinivas.

Shrinivas is a tall, well-built lad, who generates a good deal of pace with his fast arm action. One hardly gets to see an Indian bowler who is as quick as this humble bloke. He did bowl remarkably well today to take 3/103 on a docile track. He accounted for Gambhir (20), Mithun Minhas (58) and Vijay Dahiya (15).

Rahul Sanghvi the nightwatchman, applied himself well, surviving a close lbw appeal. But Tamil Nadu skipper Robin Singh dismissed Sanghvi (31) with a ball that seamed away to take the edge, Paul making no mistake behind the stumps. Delhi were struggling at 107/3 at Sanghvi's dismissal.

Minhas survived a loud shout for lbw off the bowling of Robin Singh, when he was rapped on the pads, offering no stroke. He was lucky to have survived that appeal. Minhas seemed like making the most of it, driving and pulling in good style. He fell to a good catch by Sharath at gully, going for a big square cut. His innings was decorated with nine boundaries.

Virendra Shewag started his knock with a powerful drive past the bowler Robin Singh for four. He kept up with that rhythm and tempo, playing some amazing strokes to get to his hundred. He made 106 runs off just 138 balls with 21 fours.

Meanwhile, Delhi lost their captain Dahiya, caught behind of Shrinivas and Pradeep Chawla (30) trapped in front by Robin Singh. Chawla and Shewag added 49 runs for the sixth wicket. Shewag and H Chaudhary put together 57 runs for the seventh wicket. Shewag was the last wicket to fall today, caught behind by Paul off S Mahesh. Tamil Nadu were denied of any further success by the eighth wicket partnership of Chaudhary and Amit Bhandari (13 not out) that has yielded 69 runs so far. Chaudhary is unbeaten on a classy 60 off 123 balls with seven boundaries.