Ranji Trophy: Imtiaz's fifer rocks star-studded Delhi

Ghaziabad, (IANS): Delhi's India stars flopped and Uttar Pradesh took control of the Group B Ranji Tropy cricket tie after the first day's play at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Friday.

A star-studded Delhi team, with the likes of skipper Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli, were bundled out for 235 in their first innings after they were put in by Uttar Pradesh captain Suresh Raina.

Crucial innings from Puneet Bisht (52) and former captain Mithun Manhas (42) helped Delhi get to a modest score.

At stumps, Uttar Pradesh were 40 for one with opener Mukal Dagar (18) and Mohammad Kaif (3) batting.

The star of the day was Uttar Pradesh's medium pacer Imtiaz Ahmed (5/52), who made the best use of the overcast conditions in the morning session to wreak havoc.

Delhi started cautiously but none of the openers, Gambhir (32) and Sehwag (25), rose to the occasion. They did little to prove to their detractors that they are still one of the best opening pairs in Test cricket.

Medium-pacer Praveen Kumar (1/54) struck early removing Sehwag, who hit four fours during his brief stay. Sehwag played it safe but was caught behind by Amir Khan on the only chance he took.

Just when he was looking dangerous, Gambhir (32) was trapped leg-before by Imtiaz. Virat Kohli (14) hardly lasted 20 minutes at the crease before he was caught at first slip by Mohammed Kaif while trying to drive pacer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.

Unmukt Chand (28), who recently led the India Under-19 team to a World Cup win, looked confident with his strokes, scoring four boundaries. However, he got out in an unfortunate fashion.

While trying to pull left-arm spinner Ali Murtaza, Chand hit the fielder at forward short leg and the ball bounced back to silly point where Dagar took a good catch.

At lunch, seven-time Ranji champions Delhi were reeling at 123/4 in 34 overs.

But it was the 86-run stand for the fifth-wicket between Manhas and Bisht that provided some stability. But Imtiaz sent both of them back to the pavilion.

In the post-lunch session, Imtiaz was in his elements. The Aligarh boy in his second spell of six overs, took four wickets to complete his fifer.

Praveen wrapped up the lower order by dismissing Ashish Nehra (1) and Sumit Narwal (21).

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