Gambhir, Chandela slam tons to wrest control

Gambhir, Chandela slam tons to wrest control

Gautam Gambhir was patience personified while unheralded Kunal Chandela showed maturity beyond years as their twin tons took Delhi to a commanding 271 for three against Bengal on the second day of the Ranji Trophy semifinal, here on Monday.

With Bengal scoring a below par 286 in their first essay, they are sure to concede first innings lead.

The only positive aspect for Bengal was final session where Delhi scored only 51 runs losing three wickets including Gambhir (127 off 216 balls) off Mohammad Shami.

Gambhir was an epitome of calmness during his 42nd first-class hundred in the company of Chandela (113 off 192 balls), who is playing only his third first-class match.

The best part about Gambhir this season has been his attitude. He has stuck to the goal of guiding Delhi with crucial runs but yet he has remained like an isolated island in the set-up.

A pull in front of square followed by a square cut played on the rise off Shami set the tone for his innings.

There was no stopping Gambhir as the sparse crowd egged him on.

"Gambhir bhai, make Manoj Tiwary chase all the way to the boundary," shouted one.

When Dinda intentionally threw a ball towards Gambhir on his follow through -- all in bad taste -- he simply swayed away from the line and didn't react.

He hit two back to back boundaries off Amir Gani to reach his hundred  -- identical cover drives to reach the milestone in 122 balls.

When he raised his bat, the Delhi players sprinted down the stairs from dressing room to give him a standing ovation.

Once through with hundred, he took fresh guard.

Chandela, on the other hand, waited for the pitched up deliveries, playing those flowing cover drives while the ones rising from the length were defended.

The six off Gani was majestic and so were the most of his 18 fours during the 232-run opening stand with Gambhir.

With Bengal playing only three and a half bowlers (Amit is an all-rounder), Shami was made to bowl nearly 24 overs, something the Indian team management won't be amused.

Brief scores: Bengal: 286 all out in 94.2 overs (Sudeep Chatterjee 83; Navdeep Saini 3-55, Manan Sharma 2-37) vs Delhi: 271/3 in 77.2 (Gautam Gambhir 127, Kunal Chandela 113).

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