Karnataka aim fifth straight win

Sloppy Delhi slip to 132/6 in second innings; Nair slams maiden ton

A dominant Karnataka put themselves on track for victory after reducing Delhi to 132/6 in the second innings of the Ranji Trophy Group A match at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on a chilly Wednesday.

The New Year brought no respite to the woes of Delhi. The hosts are out of contention to make the quarterfinals from Group A following Punjab’s innings defeat of Jharkhand at Dhanbad. Karnataka, the table toppers and already through to the knockout stage, look well set to further add to Delhi’s misery.

Milind Kumar (8) and Rahul Yadav (0) will resume on the last day and need to bat through the day to avoid another defeat at home. At stumps, brought early due to bad light, Delhi were leading by a mere 45 runs.

Karnataka, earlier, started the day at 226/5 in their first innings. They added 63 more before folding up with a lead of 87 runs. Opener Karun Nair, playing on 92 overnight, completed his maiden Ranji century with a single off Manan Sharma. He made 105 off 232 balls with 12 boundaries and a six.

For Delhi, a lot depended on their experienced opening pair of captain Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag. The two were off to a slow start but didn’t stay for long to leave Delhi teetering at 41/2. HS Sharath accounted for both the openers within an over, trapping them leg before.

Manan, promoted up the order with Milind nursing a stiff neck, survived two balls. More found his pads with a delivery that stayed low, and soon Delhi lost their third wicket on 41. Like several times in the past, the responsibility fell on the shoulders of veterans Mithun Manhas and Rajat Bhatia.

The two stopped the rot during their 41-run stand for the fourth wicket. They perked up the cold, grey conditions with fluent drives on both sides of the wicket. Manhas, in particular, picked runs with urgency, hitting five sweetly-timed boundaries during his 62-minute stay. He would have cursed his luck after giving a return catch to Shreyas Gopal, who juggled before taking it to his left.

Bhatia and Rahul Yadav added 39 runs for the fifth wicket. But More struck again. Bhatia, looking to push the delivery, ended up getting caught behind. Within two overs, Yadav was on his way back off a beauty from More. The ball breached through his bat and pad to knock off his bails, leaving Delhi staring down at the barrel.

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