Karnataka v Delhi, Ranji Trophy, 2nd day, Bangalore December 18, 2007

Manhas powers Delhi to 538

Delhi 538 (Kohli 169, Dhawan 148, Manhas 124, Vinay 5-124) v Karnataka 0 for 0

Despite Vinay Kumar's five-wicket haul, Delhi piled on a mammoth 538 © Cricinfo Ltd.

Delhi's charge towards a place in the semi-final was slowed down by bad light with only 63 overs of play possible on the second day at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Mithun Manhas hit a stroke-filled century to help Delhi pile up 538 runs in their first innings before play was called off, Karnataka facing a solitary delivery, more than an hour before the scheduled close.

Delhi would hope the skies clear up in the next two days as both Mumbai and Saurashtra - their closest rivals for a place in the final four, with 15 points each - have taken firm grips on their respective games. If both teams go on, as likely, to win their games, they would be on 20 points; Delhi, currently on 17 points, need to get at least three points from the first-innings lead here to stay with them.

While his team-mates in the dressing room were busy tracking the competition on the internet, Manhas led Delhi to a position of strength. His shot selection was impeccable, punctuating his defence with shots around the ground to get 86 of his 124 runs in boundaries. He had one moment of concern when, early on, he edged Srinivasa Dhananjaya just short of the keeper, but for the most part he was composed. He cut and drove the seamers with elan, the highlight being two spanking cover drives off Vinay Kumar.

Manhas made his own length through nifty footwork, late-cutting the left-arm spinner, KP Appanna, on several occasions. Appanna and Sunil Joshi tried to restrict him in the nineties with an over-the-wicket line but, after a few edgy moments trying to defend, he heaved Appanna over mid-on before lifting one into the sight screen to bring up his hundred.

Mayank Tehlan gave Manhas good support in the post-lunch session, the two adding 96 runs as Delhi moved towards a big score. Tehlan tried to take on the spinners, providing the dressing room with some anxious moments, before he was asked to slow down.

He finally fell with the score on 497, edging behind a full delivery from R Vinay Kumar, easily the pick of the bowlers. Thriving in the conditions, he pitched the ball on a length and got it to move a touch - enough for the batsmen to play him with caution. The figures for his first spell (12-2-19-2) made fine reading and he ended up with a well-deserved five-for. Dhananjay , the other seamer, was largely disappointing as he was on the first day. He too found some movement but didn't hit a consistent enough line to trouble the batsmen.

Tehlan's dismissal triggered a collapse with three wickets falling in five deliveries. Vinay claimed his 100th Ranji Trophy wicket when he removed Manhas with a delivery that cut in to uproot the off stump before Joshi struck twice, luring Puneet Bisht to edge to slip and trapping Chetanya Nanda with an arm ball.

With the end in sight, Pradeep Sangwan indulged himself, slamming three fours and a six off Vinay during an entertaining 16-ball 22 runs.

Karnataka's innings lasted just a minute and a ball before a drizzle and bad light stopped play.

Sriram Veera is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo