Driven by an unbeaten 147 from opener Akash Chopra, Delhi closed at
287/3 on the opening day of their North Zone Ranji Trophy tie against
Himachal Pradesh at the Harbax Singh Stadium in the capital today.
Chopra and stand-in captain Mithun Minhas added 159 for the third
wicket, being separated just before stumps through a run out.
Delhi hardly seemed handicapped by going into the match without three
key players in skipper Vijay Dahiya, Virender Shewag and Rahul
Sanghvi, all of whom have been picked in the Board President's XI that
faces off against Zimbabwe at Faridabad from November 13.
After Delhi won the toss and batted, Himachal left arm spinner Jaswant
Rai took the only wicket that fell to the bowlers today with the score
at 53, his victim being Ashu Dani. Next man in was Gautam Gambhir,
playing his first Ranji Trophy game of the season. The elegant left
hander has the maddening habit of playing a few strokes and then
throwing his wicket away.
Just last week, the 19 year old had performed a tour de force against
Punjab in the Cooch Behar Trophy, carrying his bat for 218 out of 320,
a staggering 68% of the team total. He was not so prolific here, being
thrown out for 24 to leave Delhi at 124/2. Minhas also fell in the
same fashion some three hours later but only after he had produced 79,
inclusive of seven fours and two sixes. That was at 283 and some six
overs later, Chopra and Delhi completed a satisfying day. The opener's
147, collected off 283 balls, featured twenty hits to the fence.