Ranji Trophy: Ishant Sharma bowls just 9 overs as Delhi teeters on the brink of elimination and Tamil Nadu dominates Chattisgarh

Delhi are behind in the Ranji Trophy Group H match against Jharkhand and are on the verge of elimination from the first domestic tournament. Jharkhand ended Day 3 of play at ACA Stadium in Guwahati with a 315-run lead to finish 288-5.

Scores from Nazim Siddiqui and Kumar Suraj in the 2nd innings helped Jharkhand take control of the game after sealing a first-innings lead against Delhi.

If Delhi finishes with one more point they would only theoretically survive as they cannot overtake Tamil Nadu even with a seven point game (bonus) against Chattisgarh, according to the Press Trust of India. Each team in Group H will play 3 games and Delhi will face Chattisgarh in their next game after they drew their tournament opener against Tamil Nadu. Delhi also conceded a first-innings lead against TN.

All eyes were on Ishant Sharma as the top-ranked Indian pacer, left out of the squad for next month’s 2-Test series against Sri Lanka, returned to play Ranji Trophy after missing the opening game against Tamil Nadu would have.

Despite taking the wicket of Utkarsh Singh in his first ban, Ishant bowled just 9 overs on Day 4 of Jharkhand’s 2nd innings. The older man had bowled just 4 overs in the first innings when Jharkhand scored 251, after which Delhi only managed 224.

Ishant rolled two more short spells but never looked in rhythm and actually lost his cool a bit during his last cast when Suraj treated him with contempt.

In the morning, Jonty Sidhu (79) became left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem’s fifth victim as he tried to give him the charge when Delhi went down on 224, giving Jharkhand an important 27-run lead.

They came back strong during the first session, reducing Jharkhand to 67 for four as both Navdeep Saini (13-2-45-1) and Ishant (9-2-29-1) rolled good opening spells in tandem.

However, when right-hander Siddiqui (110, 177 ball, 13×4) and left-hander Suraj (129, 160 ball, 17×4, 3×6) took charge, Delhi was slowly and surely knocked out of play during the second session as left-armed spinner Vikas Mishra ( 0/74 in 21 overs) looked flat compared to Nadeem.

When Delhi ran out of a wicket at tea, shoulders began to sag and as Ishant didn’t bowl much with the old ball, Jharkhand-Batters found other Delhi bowlers easy to negotiate with the two off-spinners Lalit Yadav and Nitish Rana looking colorless .

SHORT RESULTS – DELHI VS JHARKHAND

Jharkhand 251 and 288/5 (Nazim Siddqui 110, Kumar Suraj 129 with the punch, Ishant Sharma 1/29, Navdeep Saini 1/45).

Delhi 224 (Jonty Sidhu 79, Shahbaz Nadeem 5/58).

TAMIL NADU DOMINATES CHATTISGARH

Tamil Nadu reduced Chattisgarh to 257 for eight at stumps after they declared their first innings at 470 for nine.

Chattisgarh has 64 runs remaining to avoid a follow-on with just two wickets in hand. For Chattisgarh, their skipper Harpreet Bhatia played a lone hand with an unbeaten 145 but received little support from the other end. Left-armed spinner Ravi Srinivasan Sai Kishore (4/48) was the top bowler.

A final day aggregate win takes Tamil Nadu to nine points ahead of their final game against Jharkhand and tops the table while Chattisgarh need to salvage the game and stay top with seven points after winning the first game straight away.

SHORT RESULTS: TAMIL NADU VS CHATTISGARH

Tamil Nadu 470/9 Decl. Chattisgarh 257/8 (Harpreet Singh Bhatia 145 Beat, R Sai Kishore 4/48).

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