K~~taka tighten noose, follow on stares Delhi

Published: Monday, December 18, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Twin tons by Robin Uthappa and Tilak Naidu and some intelligent bowling by Karnataka pace colleagues Vinay Kumar and B Akhil helped the visitors tighten the noose around the neck of Delhi with the hosts staring at follow on in the Elite Group A Ranji Trophy match here today.

After Robin Uthappa's sedate 161, Karnataka's stumper-batsman Tilak Naidu flayed the brean-dead Delhi attack during his virtually a run-a-ball ton as the visitors amassed 446 in their first innings.

With a mountain to climb, the hosts found themselves in a deep hole and were gasping for breath at 103 for five with Viraat Kohli (40) debutant stumper Puneet Bisht (28) waging a grim battle when stumps were drawn on day two of the match.

Delhi need another 194 runs to avoid a follow on and they trail the visitors by 343 runs with five wickets in hand.

Resuming on 299 for three, Karnataka soon lost centurion Uthappa, who lingered for more than six hours to face 221 balls and hit 23 boundaries in his patient knock.

Tilak Naidu, however, had other plans and the wicket-keeper batsmen feasted on an assortment of meat-pies at him by the inept Delhi pacers -- Ashish Nehra being the chief culprit.

Nehra leaked 171 runs in 36 overs for his four wickets and looked pale in comparison with his younger new ball partner Ishant Sharma, whose figure read 31.1-7-99-4.

Delhi's toothless attack and lack of a quality spinner was exposed as Tialk partnered KP Appanan to add 85 runs for the last wicket with the latter contributing just one.

Tilak's 123-ball knock of 122 was studded with 21 boundaries, apart from the slog-sweep off Chetanya Nanda, which disappeared over the square leg ropes for the maximum.

And if their bowlers came a cropper, Delhi batsmen proved even worse.

Vinay Kumar and B Akhil taught the host bowlers a lesson or two about what should have been the ideal length in the match and of five Delhi wickets -- three were leg before and one edge in the slip.

Team India discard Aakash Chopra was castled in the fifth delivery of the Delhi innings without troubling the scorer, while Mayank Tehlan, double centurion in the previous match, was trapped for nought in the fourth over.

Two more leg before decisions -- Mithun Manhas (4) and Shikhar Dhawan (8) -- and the hosts were reeling at 14 for four.

Rajat Bhatia (18) and Viraat Kohli (40 not out) then stemmed the rot for a while before the former edged Akhil to Sunil Joshi at second slip and Delhi were reduced to 59 for five.

Things would have been even worse for Delhi, had Tilak Naidu, standing up to put pressure on debutant Puneet Bisht (28 not out), pouched the edge off Stuart Binny in the final session.

Later talking to the media, Tilak Naidu was pleasantly surprised at the toothlessness of the Delhi attack.

''it was a lovely batting track and the idea was to spend as much time there as possible. But their bowlers were hardly threatening, least of all Nehra who looked quite tired and I'm quite astonished to have notched up my seventh Ranji ton,'' he said.


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