Ranji Trophy: Baroda end day at 252/3 against Delhi

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) Baroda displayed a solid batting performance on a low−and−slow pitch as they ended the day's play at 252 for three on the first day of the Ranji Trophy Group B tie against Delhi here at the Ferozshah Kotla Saturday.

At the close of play, newly appointed skipper Ambati Rayudu, who is leading his side for the first time in first class cricket, and Abhimanyu Chauhan were batting at 83 and 82, respectively.

The Shikhar Dhawan−led Delhi side could not take advantage of the morning conditions after electing to field, scalping only one wicket before lunch as the Kotla wicket did not aid the pacers.

The absence of the Pathan brothers, Yusuf and Irfan, was being touted as the reason why the hosts would dominate the tie. However, the story unfolded differently.

After safely negotiating the new ball and the first hour, 21−year−old Saurabh Wakaskar (22) was the first to walk back to the pavilion after getting caught at square leg by Parvinder Awana while playing a high pull shot of the bowling of Sumit Narwal.

Immediately after lunch, comeback man and veteran Rajat Bhatia struck twice for the home team.

Opener Aditya Waghmode (54) was taken brilliantly by a one−handed catch by Mohit Sharma in the slips. In his next over, Bhatia took his 90th first class wicket when Rakesh Solanki (0) nicked the ball to Mohit.

At 109/3, the visitors looked in a spot of bother but Rayudu and Chauhan forged an unbeaten 143−run partnership which continued till the close of play, both players hitting 13 boundaries each.

Chauhan looked in good form, punishing balls pitched on the leg stump. This was his second first class half−century in 13 matches. Rayudu proved effective against the spinners, coming on the front foot and driving them regularly, first in the covers and then straight.

Thereon, Baroda kept consolidating and piling on the misery for Delhi, who were looking for another win after bagging seven points against Odisha in the last round.

In what could be another problem for Delhi, lead pacer Ashish Nehra went off the field after bowling his first spell of six overs and did not come back. He sat out the last match as he was not fit.

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