Munaf rattles Delhi to give ROI 75-run lead

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Vadodra, Sep 25 (UNI) Delhi failed to take advantage of a modest 252 by Rest of India as Munaf Patel rattled the Ranji Champions to give his side an important 75-run lead on the second day of the Irani Trophy match here today.

Munaf picked up four wickets to dismiss Delhi for a paltry 177 with all their batsmen struggling to negotiate Rest of India bowlers and eventually succumbed to their nagging line and length.

At stumps, ROI had taken a 174-run second innings lead with Rahul Dravid (34) and S Badrinath (33) at crease after first innings' half centurion Wasim Jaffer departed for 21 to Pradeep Sangwan.

The low bounce in the pitch did not help Delhi's cause as even after a fairly successful second-wicket stand between Virender Sehwag and Akash Chopra, the Ranji Champions were bowled out for meagre total.

While Munaf was certainly the pick of the bowlers for ROI with four wickets off his nine overs, he was well supported by his other compatriots.

Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh did not let lose the ROI's grip and claimed two wickets each.

For Delhi, captain Sehwag played in his usual characteristic fashion and scored 43 off 57 balls which included three fours and one six. He was given able assistance by Chopra with whom he added 53 runs for the second wicket.

Chopra scored 42 runs which had seven effortless hits to the fence. Sehwag fell prey to Kumble as Dravid plucked a blinder at slips while Chopra became Munaf's first victim of the day.

However, after that the Delhi batsmen fell like nine pins and had no answer to ROI's impressive bowling which was backed by some great fielding.

The drop in pitch was well exploited by the spinners, especially Harbhajan Singh, whom the Delhi batsmen failed to read.

Harbhajan accounted for the wickets of Punit Bisht (28) and Chetanya Nanda who was sent back without troubling the scorers.

But the Delhi batsmen had a lot to learn from young Pradeep Sangwan who defied the rival bowling with some great application.

Sangwan remained unbeaten on 23 and faced 40 balls. His innings included a towering six at long on off Harbhajan but the other tailenders were not ready to stay with him and by the time they realised their mistakes the Rest of India batsmen had already taken their guard.

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