Ishant fires again as Delhi wrap up win
Delhi 201 (Budhwar 4-56) and 312 for 5 dec (Gambhir 153, Bhatia 56*) beat Haryana 138 (Ishant 5-29, Bhatia 4-32) and 270 (Rana 86*, Yadav 60, Ishant 4-74, Sood 4-49) by 105 runs
The Delhi team management's decision to play on a result-oriented Roshanara track was vindicated as they got their first six points of the season with a 105-run victory over Haryana.
Chasing a stiff target of 376, Haryana were bowled out for 270 in 70 overs with the match ending exactly nine overs into the post lunch session. It was a much-needed win for Delhi, who now have nine points from four matches.
Ishant Sharma's return to first-class grind proved to be a fruitful one as he got 4 for 76 in the second innings to end with a match-haul of 9 for 105 in 37 overs. Debutant left-arm spinner Varun Sood also did his case no harm with second-innings figures of 4 for 49 from 15 overs.
It was Ishant's post-lunch spell of 4-0-9-3 that knocked the stuffing out of Haryana's tail as he quickly polished it off once he got rid of the gritty Joginder Sharma for 35. Credit should go to Haryana's lower-middle order, which fought doggedly despite starting the day at a precarious 63 for 5.
Allrounder Sachin Rana, who ended 86 not out, and off-spinner Jayant Yadav (60) counterattacked with a swift stand of 117 runs off 121 balls after the overnight not out batsman Avi Barot was adjudged leg before to a Parvinder Awana delivery. A whopping 175 runs were scored for the loss of two wickets in the first session as Haryana went into the lunch at 238 for 7.
The pitch had eased out and batting wasn't a difficult job. Ishant, in the pre-lunch session, was getting predictable as there was very little movement off the pitch. His bowling looked one dimensional as hit the deck without much result.
Both Rana and Yadav played with a straight bat and most of their shots were hit in front of the square. The normally steady Rajat Bhatia was taken apart in one over by Rana - he lofted him into the sight screen off successive deliveries.
Finally, it was Sood, who got rid of Yadav to break the partnership. He tossed one up with an invitation to drive and Yadav missed the line of the delivery to be bowled. He played 62 deliveries and hit nine fours, most of which were well-timed ones.
At 193 for 7, in walked Joginder and there was another bit of stiff resistance with addition of 63 runs in 16 overs.
There was a time when the frustration among Delhi fielders was showing, with workhorse Awana's short delivery crushing into Rana's helmet and the bowler walking down in his followthrough to give the batsman an earful.
Finally, it was Ishant who got the old ball to reverse to do the trick. First he removed Joginder with a delivery that came back a shade to send the off-stump for a walk. Captain Harshal Patel got a trademark back of a length delivery from Ishant, which he edged, while Sanjay Budhwar also didn't last too long.
Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir was declared the Man of the Match for his second-innings 153. Gambhir has been the biggest gainer from this match, as he played a gutsy innings under pressure which the national selectors would have noted. Virender Sehwag's form is going from bad to worse, while Ishant was good in patches although he is not going to complain having got a bagful of wickets.