Ishant Sharma was a picture of commitment while leading the injury-ridden Delhi attack with an eight-wicket match haul to all but ensure an outright victory against Hyderabad on the third day of the Ranji Trophy group A encounter here on Friday.
Having dismissed Hyderabad for 69 in the first innings, Delhi were handicapped by Pawan Suyal’s injury but that didn’t deter Ishant from sending down 19 overs, grabbing 4 for 89 in the visitors’ total score of 298.
Ishant finished with a match-haul of 8 for 108 in 29 overs.
Needing 84 to win, Delhi were 24 for no loss in the second innings and are just 60 runs away from full points. If they win by 10 wickets, the team will also walk away with a bonus point.
At a time when the Indian pacers’ workload management has become a focal point and top stars only want to bowl a specific number of overs in red-ball games to get into the groove, the veteran of 96 Test matches toiled hard, bowled those extra overs and also encouraged young Simarjeet Singh (3/80 in 19.4 overs).
Once Suyal was out of the attack with a groin strain, Ishant had no option but to bowl those extra overs and he started in earnest, trapping right-hander Himalay Agarwal in-front and then breaching Bavanaka Sandeep’s (0) defences.
To give him respite, even Nitish Rana had to bowl the seam-up stuff. There were times, when Ishant pitched it short but whenever he looked to pitch it up, he was a handful.
It was opener Tanmay Agarwal (103 off 154 balls), who was primarily responsible for thwarting Delhi’s bid for an innings victory along with some rearguard action from Tanay Thyagrajan (34) and Mehedy Hasan (71).
Tanmay and Tanay shared a 93-run stand after Hyderabad were reduced to 97 for 6.
Hasan then used the long-handle to help Hyderabad avoid follow-on. However, all they could manage in the end was 83-run lead which certainly won’t be enough.
In Delhi: Delhi 284 and (target 84) 24/0. Hyderabad 69 and (f/0) 298 all out (Tanmay Agarwal 103, Mehedy Hasan 71, Ishant Sharma 4/86, Simarjeet Singh 3/80).
In Kolkata: Bengal 289 all out. Andhra 110/7 (Ishan Porel 3/35, Mukesh Kumar 2/36).
In Surat: Gujarat 127 and 210. Kerala 70 and (target 268) 177 (Sanju Samson 78, Axar Patel 4/50, Chintan Gaja 3/41).
In Nagpur: Vidarbha 338 (Ganesh Sathish 145, Aditya Sarwate 48, Baltej Singh 3/59). Punjab 132/0 (Shubman Gill 70 batting, Sanvir Singh 56 batting).