Gautam Gambhir serves reminder to selectors with 153 against Haryana
With the Test squad for South Africa set to be announced in a few weeks' time, Gautam Gambhir has certainly made a case for himself in the reserve opener's slot with a 215-ball knock that was laced with 25 fours.
Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir served a timely reminder to the selectors with a potentially match-winning knock of 153 while Virender Sehwag failed yet again as Delhi closed in on a comprehensive outright win against Haryana in a Ranji Trophy group League encounter at Roshanara club.
Starting the third day at 35 for no loss, Delhi declared at 312 for seven leaving Haryana with a stiff target of 376 with a day to go.
At stumps, visitors were reeling at 63 for five with debutant left-arm spinner Varun Sood picking up three wickets for three runs.
The day belonged to Gambhir who faced 215 balls hitting 25 fours. He batted for nearly five hours and stepped up the run rate after reaching his 100 to hand Delhi a good chance to register their first six points in the tournament.
With the Test squad for South Africa set to be announced in a few weeks' time, Gambhir has certainly made a case for himself in the reserve opener's slot.
Sehwag didn't have any such luck as he played another rash shot trying to slash a delivery from medium pacer Ashish Hooda away from his body only to offer a simple catch to Sunny Singh at first slip.
Sehwag made six on Saturday and his total run tally in the 2013-14 Ranji season so far reads 69 runs from six innings.
Gambhir, on the other hand, was patient enough. The 32-year-old lived a charmed life at the crease as many of his edges flew past the slips and gully region. However, the left-hander still managed to hit some good cover drives, pull shots and lofted shots over extra-cover.
He reached his century with a slash over point but after reaching his ton, he looked more fluent.
Gambhir received good support from Mithun Manhas, who smashed his way to 36 off 37 balls before retiring hurt due to a hamstring pull.
Rajat Bhatia also played a cameo scoring 56 off 51 balls adding 124 runs in just over 20 overs which helped Delhi declare their innings with at least two hours to go at the Haryana batsmen on the third day.
Nitin Saini (29) and Abhimanyu Khod (29) did all the hard work for 16 overs before Saini mistimed a pull off Parwinder Awana and Pawan Suyal took a good catch running in from deep fine leg.
Then it was debutant Sood's turn to be amongst the wickets. He first got one to go through Sunny Singh's defence and then trapped Hooda and Rahul Dalal plumb in-front to peg Delhi back.
In between Ishant Sharma got the wicket of Khod who was taken by Puneet Bisht behind the stumps.
Brief Scores: Delhi 201 & 312/7 declared (Gautam Gambhir 153, Rajat Bhatia 56 no, Virender Sehwag 6)
Haryana 138 & 63/5 (target 376, Varun Sood 3/3).