Virender Sehwag's awful form continued but Mithun Manhas (92) and Rajat Bhatia (unbeaten 71) struck half-centuries to ensure that Delhi reach a respectable 268 for six against Odisha on day one of their Ranji trophy Group A match, here today.
At Veer Sunrendra Sai Stadium in Sambalpur, Delhi's top-order came a cropper after being inserted in to bat as Sehwag failed to open his account, young Unmukt Chand managed just three runs and Gautam Gambhir (32) failed to convert a good start.
Sehwag, who has scored just 69 runs since the start of this Ranji season in his last six innings, became second victim of paceman Suryakant Pradhan, who is playing just his second first class game.
Sehwag lasted just three balls before being caught by Abhilash Mallick of Pradhan that left Delhi at 2/9 in the sixth over. But a patient knock from Gambhir (32) and a valuable innings from Mithun Manhas (92) saved the day for Delhi.
Pradhan got both his wickets wickets in the sixth over of the innings as he dismissed Chand off the second ball and Sehwag off the last.
Gambhir and Manhas and then added 103-runs for the third wicket to bring the innings back on track before paceman Deepak Behera broke the stand by dismissing the left-hander.
Vaibhav Rawal got a good start and out of the 40-run partnership with Manhas, he scored 35 runs. As Manhas closed in on his century Basant Mohanty dismissed the seasoned batsman. His 92 runs came off 115 balls with 18 boundaries and a six.
Rawal he too could not convert that into a substantial knock and was trapped by off-spinner Govind Poddar.
Bhatia though kept his nerves and continued to bat patiently.
Delhi also lost wicket-keeper batsman Rahul Yadav (11), trapped by left-arm spinner Dhiraj Singh. Bhatia was unbeaten on 71, which came off 141 balls with the help of 11 shots to the fence.
Giving him company was Varun Sood (12).
All five bowlers employed by the hosts were among wickets with Pradhan (2/91) being the best.
Brief Scores: Delhi 1st innings: 268 for 6 in 90 overs.(M Manhas 92, R Bhatia 71 batting; S Pradhan 2/91).