Uttar Pradesh nudge ahead after Ishant strikes

Uttar Pradesh 291 and 224 for 7 (Akshdeep Nath 110, Rinku Singh 64, Ishant 3-38) lead Delhi 269 (Shorey 98*, Gambhir 86, Saurabh 4-87, Imtiaz 3-33) by 246 runs

Akshdeep Nath followed up his fifty in the first innings with a century to rescue Uttar Pradesh after they had slipped and lost three wickets with only two on the board, after they pocketed a lead against Delhi. He was joined by left-hander Rinku Singh on 21 for 4 as the pair added 108 for the fifth wicket to swell UP’s lead to 246 with three wickets intact on a bizarre day at Palam grounds, where play ended after a man breached the security gates and drove on to the pitch.

Delhi had begun the day on 228 for 6 in response to UP’s 291. Dhruv Shorey batting overnight on 65 did the bulk of the scoring on the morning, after Pulkit Narang was dismissed in the first over of the day. He made 33 of the 41 runs Delhi got and remained unbeaten on 98 as Imtiaz Ahmed cleaned out the tail. The medium-pacer finished with three wickets, while left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar, who had snapped three wickets yesterday, added one more to his tally.

Ishant Sharma, the Delhi captain, then ripped through UP’s top order. He rattled opener Shivam Chaudhary’s stumps off the first ball of the innings. In his next over, he had first-innings top-scorer Mohammad Saif caught in the slips. Suresh Raina came in at No. 5 when Navdeep Saini dismissed Albas Shaukat in the following over. He started off aggressively but couldn’t sustain it for longer than 17 deliveries, edging behind off Ishant.

Nath started watchfully in the second innings, preferring to play straight on a track that offered bounce through the day. But as the fifth-wicket pair approached tea, they opened up. Rinku Singh, who got a second innings century in his previous match, struck a breezy 64 off 80, getting his fifty before Nath. He then failed to control a cut against a rising ball.

Like in the first innings, Nath took a liking to the spinners. He directed Delhi’s fields against him with compulsive use of sweeps and reverse sweeps. There were at least three appeals of lbw against him as he employed those shots, including when was on 99, but at no point did he show signs of not being in control.

With Upendra Yadav, Nath put on 86. But while he was successful in staving off – and attacking – Kulwant Khejroliya’s short ball strategy, Upendra couldn’t keep a hook down in the last hour of play. Nath was unbeaten at the end of the day after swelling UP’s lead.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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