Delhi looked firmly in sight of an innings victory after debutant Anuj Rawat's 71, found hosts reaching a commendable 435 in their first innings on third day of the Ranji Trophy Group A encounter. After taking a sizeable 177-run first innings lead, Delhi left Assam in tatters at 60/3 in their second essay with another 117 runs required to avoid innings defeat. Navdeep Saini (2/13 in 8 overs) bowled at brisk pace, removing openers Pallav Das (5) and Rishav Das (9). Both deliveries were sharp incutters trapping one leg before and knocking the off stump of the other. Left-arm pacer Kulwant Khejroliya (1/1 in 4 overs) also removed rival skipper Gokul Sharma.
The highlight of the day was composed batting from Anuj, who is still 10 days short of his 18th birthday.
The young left-handed batsman faced 146 balls, hitting seven fours and a six. More importantly, he added 122 runs for the seventh wicket with Mannan Sharma (69, 98 balls) after Delhi were 297 for six at one stage.
Gautam Gambhir (137) was out early in the day, adding only a single run to his overnight score.
Uttaranchal boy Anuj, who has learnt his cricket from Virat Kohli's childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma at West Delhi Academy, showed maturity beyond his years.
He allowed his senior partner Mannan to go for his shots as the latter had 13 hits to the fence.
The duo joined together at 297 for six with the lead being less than 40. But the manner in which Anuj handled the Assam pace duo of Abu Nechim (7/68) and Krishna Das (2/82) was worth a praise.
He also used his feet well against the spinners, lofting off-spinner Sarupam Purkayastha for a straight six. By the time, both were dismissed, Delhi had taken complete control of the proceedings.
Assam: 258 and 60 for 3 (Navdeep Saini 2/13).
Delhi 1st innings: 435 (Gautam Gambhir 137, Nitish Rana 110, Anuj Rawat 71, Mannan Sharma 69; Abu Nechim Ahmed 7/68).