Rajasthan continued its battle to deny Delhi the joy of finishing its 2019-20 Ranji Trophy campaign with a win after an absorbing day’s play here on Friday.
After being asked to follow-on, Rajasthan was 128 for two when stumps were drawn on the penultimate day. It still needs 197 runs to make Delhi bat again.
Earlier, resuming its first innings at 115 for four, Rajasthan folded for 299, with some resolute rearguard action from every batsman on view. Ashok Menaria used all his experience and scored 119. With the last three wickets adding 100 runs, Rajasthan showed it was not going to be easy for the host.
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During the day, when Bengal defeated Punjab at Patiala, Delhi’s remote chance of qualifying for the quarterfinals ended. The day belonged to Menaria and Mahipal Lomror, who took turns to steady Rajasthan’s tumbling innings.
Skipper Menaria’s second century of the competition and 11th in First-Class cricket, reinforced his fine form this season. He was not troubled by the Delhi bowlers as he batted with certain authority during his 189-ball knock, which included 14 fours and three sixes.
When Rajasthan batted a second time, Lomror kept Delhi at bay with positive intent. So far, he has hit one six and eight boundaries. Much depends on how he carries on when the action resumes on Saturday.
Among the bowlers, Simarjeet Singh continued to impress. The seamer finished with four wickets in the first innings and provided the early breakthrough in the second. With the pitch assisting the spinners a bit more, Shivam Sharma and Shivank Vashisht could provide the difference on the final day.
Delhi-1st innings: 623.
Rajasthan-1st innings: 299 (Ashok Menaria 119, Simarjeet Singh 15.2-2-46-4).
Rajasthan-2nd innings: 128/2 in 39 overs (Mahipal Lomror 64*).