Jaipur: Skipper Gautam Gambhir in company of his deputy Unmukt Chand got into a damage control mode with fighting half-centuries as Delhi put up a much improved performance on the second day of their Ranji Trophy match against Rajasthan taking their overall lead to 74 runs.
After being skittled out for 138 on the opening day, the Delhi bowlers did a decent job to restrict Rajasthan to 240 keeping the first innings lead to 102. Delhi gave a better account of themselves finishing the day at 176 for one.
Skipper Gambhir took charge in the second essay with a fighting unbeaten 77 and added 166 for the opening stand with Unmukt who struck 84.
While Gambhir's 146-ball knock had eight boundaries as he was very cautious knowing that a lot rests on his experienced shoulders. Unmukt, also displayed maturity during his 147-ball stay at the wicket that yielded 13 boundaries and a six. The former India U-19 captain should have got a century but was caught behind off Manjeet Singh's bowling. At close of play, nightwatchman Pradeep Sangwan (6 batting) was giving Gambhir company.
Even though Rajasthan got a handy 102-run first innings lead, it seems that the match will have an outright result. Delhi might fancy their chances if they can set a target of 225 for Rajasthan in their fourth innings chase.
Rajasthan started the day at 74 for three and the two overnight batsmen Ashok Menaria (38) and Puneet Yadav (46) took the hosts past Delhi's first innings score of 138. Having added 71 runs for the fourth wicket, Parvinder Awana (2/24 in 14 overs) removed Puneet caught by Milind Kumar.
In his very next over, Awana removed Menaria, who nicked one to Mohit Ahlawat behind stumps.
Having lost two set batsmen in quick succession, Rajasthan were dealt a third blow as Rajesh Bishnoi (0) was trapped leg before by Sumit Narwal.
The home team were reduced to 143 for six after which Dishant Yagnik (40) and bowling hero Deepak Chahar (50) frustrated the visiting team bowlers with a 87 run stand. It was a whirlwind counterattacking stand in only 13.3 overs as Chahar hit six fours and three sixes and Yagnik had seven boundaries to his credit.
But at 230 for six, there was another collapse as left-arm spinner Manan Sharma (3/59) wiped off the tail after part-time offie Milind Kumar ended the partnership cleaning up Chahar.
Brief Scores: Delhi 138 & 2nd Innings 176/1 (Gautam Gambhir 77 batting, Unmukt Chand 84) Rajasthan 1st innings: 240 (Deepak Chahar 50, Puneet Yadav 46, Dishant Yagnik 40, Sumit Narwal 3/47, Parvinder Awana 2/24).