New Delhi, Nov. 20 -- A placid track and the sun beating down was ideal for Delhi to counter the pressure of the 561 runs put on board by Baroda.
And Delhi's battle was made easy on Day Three for their two youngsters trying to step up to the plate. Both the triumphant India U-19 skipper Unmukt Chand and Mohit Sharma, a rookie left-hand bat playing his second Ranji game, couldn't have asked for better conditions to undo their early failures.
First up though was Shikhar Dhawan, the Delhi skipper, trying for the umpteenth time to justify his talent.
Dhawan's quickfire knock containing crisp drives and a rasping pull shot could have impressed national selector Saba Karim for the upcoming ODIs but it ended at just 29 off 33 balls.
Dhawan followed his instincts but a snorter from Murtuza Vahora, with fine leg and square leg well-positioned, forced him to hook, and led to his downfall.
Chand, having shown just glimpses of his talent at first-class level, batted cautiously and played straight. Luck and laggard feet had let him down in the previous three innings this season. He and Mohit brought the full face of their bats into play. Soon, strokes materialised into runs with the batsmen patient or reaching out to middle the ball on the slow Kotla track.
But just as they were gaining momentum came the lapses. Chand (51) missed one from spinner Bhargav Bhatt that clipped the off-stump. Just before the end, Mohit (71) missed a flick shot and the ball thudded into his pads.
The duo may have cemented its spot in the side for now, but hurt Delhi's immediate plans of having a shot at Baroda's score as they finished the day on 215/3.
Baroda 561; Delhi 215/3 (M Sharma 71, U Chand 51)
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.