Delhi v Karnataka, Ranji Trophy, Group A, 1st day, Delhi December 30, 2013

Vinay four-for leaves Delhi in disarray

The Report by Amit Shetty in Delhi

Karnataka 2 for 0 trail Delhi 202 (Sehwag 32, Gambhir 54, Vinay 4-40) by 200 runs

Virender Sehwag returned to the opening slot with a blazing 31-ball 32 and Gautam Gambhir ground his way to a half-century but Delhi lost the initiative and were bowled out for 202 in 67.4 overs against Karnataka in a do-or-die final league fixture. At stumps, Karnataka were 2 for no loss with 19 overs of play lost due to bad light.

After Gambhir decided to bat, the Delhi batsmen, who had played their last few games on a lively Roshanara strip, found it hard to adjust to a slow and low Feroz Shah Kotla pitch, where the ball didn't come on to the bat after the first hour. It was instructive that three of their middle-order batsmen were out playing on.

Vinay Kumar did well to come back after Sehwag went after him in his first three overs, and finished with figures of 4 for 40 in 13 overs. HS Sharath complemented him, taking 3 for 58, and Karnataka's fast bowlers accounted for eight of the 10 wickets. The other two were taken by legspinner Shreyas Gopal.

Sehwag had decided to open the innings and looked in complete command, smashing Vinay for five fours in three overs. Twice he carved through the point region, one was a spanking off-drive and one was a clip off the legs to the midwicket boundary. The 50 came off nine overs but Delhi went off the boil after that.

Medium-pacer Ronit More dug one short, aiming at Sehwag's rib-cage, and the batsman fended awkwardly at it. The ball lobbed high enough for the bowler to complete the catch diving forward on his follow-through. Gambhir was scratchy at the other end, with most of his six boundaries coming off streaky edges and dabs through and over the slip cordon, but he managed to survive the first hour.

Milind Kumar got to a play his first first-class match after a year, with Unmukt Chand left out. But Milind looked uneasy and Vinay, changing ends for his second spell, struck by bowling in the off-stump channel to have the batsman playing on.

The in-form Mithun Manhas hit a couple of boundaries before he prodded forward to Vinay and inside-edged onto the stumps. From 84 for 3, Delhi enjoyed a bit of recovery with Gambhir adding 35 runs with the left-handed Manan Sharma, who also batted with confidence. But there was another slump in the post-lunch session when Gopal got one to straighten and rap Manan's pad in front of the wicket.

Gambhir was finally out off the 111th ball he faced, poking at a wide delivery from Sharath and edging to Mayank Agarwal, who caught it after a fumble at first slip. Bhatia, who made a gutsy century against Punjab in a losing cause, lofted Gopal into the sightscreen, but never really looked in control during his 57-ball innings. Vinay got him when he played a loose shot away from his body and inside-edged onto leg stump.

Wicketkeeper Rahul Yadav was bowled off a no-ball but didn't survive for much longer, pulling Gopal straight to midwicket. It was finally left to Sumit Narwal, who hit couple of towering sixes off Gopal, to help Delhi pass 200.