Haryana bowlers produced a disciplined performance to restrict hosts Delhi to 194 for eight at stumps, on the first day of their group 'A' Ranji Trophy encounter as India discards Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir yet again failed to post a big score.
Delhi captain Gambhir managed 29 and Virender Sehwag three. Sehwag's poor form with the bat continued in third consecutive matches. In the last five innings, he has scored 1, 15, 9 and 35 not out.
Gambhir has got starts in the last two matches against Gujarat and Mumbai but failed to convert them into big scores, that would have attracted the attention of the national selectors, who are likely to meet next week to pick the team for the tour to South Africa.
Against Gujarat in the drawn match, Gambhir had scores of 31 and 44 and in the last match against Mumbai, that also ended his a draw, he had scored 64 and 51 (retired hurt).
Put into bat on a seamer-friendly Roshanara track, Sehwag (3), Gambhir (29), Unmukt Chand (1) and Mithun Manhas (9) were all back in the pavilion before lunch to trigger a collapse from which Delhi couldn't fully recover.
Although Rajat Bhatia (39) and Vaibhav Rawal (25) added 59 runs for the fifth wicket, Haryana's five-man seam attack maintained the pressure throughout the day by not giving away easy runs.
For Haryana, left-arm seamer Sanjay Badhwar (4/56 in 19 overs) was the pick of the bowlers while senior pro Joginder Sharma (2/32 in 17.2 overs) also troubled the batsmen with seam and swing.
Punit Bisht scored a quickfire 33 with six fours and a six but didn't last long.
All eyes were on Sehwag and Gambhir but both of them looked horribly out of touch as Joginder troubled them on a track that had good carry as well as movement after pitching.
After Unmukt was dismissed trying to hit a cover drive off Badhwar, Sehwag walked out there in the middle in the very second over. The duo batted together for 10 overs but didn't for once were able to dominate the bowling.
After playing 29 balls for his three runs, Sehwag edged an away-going delivery from Joginder to Nitin Saini behind the stumps.
Sehwag now has 63 runs in five innings in Ranji Trophy and his dreams of an India comeback is getting bleaker by the day.
Gambhir's only confident stroke was a tuck off his hips to square leg boundary off Ashish Hooda's bowling. However, Badhwar got one delivery to hold its line as Delhi skipper tried a defensive push and was played on in the process.
The 48 for three, soon became 55 for four as Delhi's most consistent batsman Mithun Manhas got a beauty from Joginder. The ball moved a shade after pitching and Manhas nicked it. The resultant catch was taken by a diving Saini.
It was Bhatia and young Rawal, who then tried to steady the ship without taking much risk. Bhatia hit couple of good-looking cover drives while Rawal also defended well at the other end. The 50-run partnership came off 143 deliveries. Bhatia, who scored 39 off 98 deliveries with four boundaries finally got out when he edged a wide delivery from medium pacer Sachin Rana to give Saini his third catch of the day.
Rawal, who resisted for more than two and half hours, was dismissed when he edged one from Badhwar to Rana in the second slip. Bisht's breezy knock also ended with a poor shot while Ishant Sharma also didn't last long.
Brief Scores: Delhi 1st Innings 194/8 in 84 overs (Rajat Bhatia 39, Punit Bisht 33, Sanjay Badhwar 4/56, Joginder Sharma 2/32) vs Haryana.
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