Kshitiz Sharma, whose place in the playing eleven was questioned, silenced his critics with a gritty 103 that helped Delhi post a mammoth 623 in the first innings of their Ranji Trophy match against Rajasthan here on Thursday.
Sharma, who played for Arunachal last season, stitched a 196-run stand with Kunwar Bidhuri who too reached the three figures scoring 115 off just 135 balls.
Sharma's innings was a complete contrast to Bidhuri's blistering knock as he consumed 212 balls for his second first-class ton. It was a maiden ton for Bidhuri who collected 12 fours and a couple of sixes.
Delhi had resumed day two at 389 for six and ended up adding 234 runs. The hosts maintained a decent run rate of 4.23 in the innings lasting 147 overs. Opener Hiten Dalal had scored his maiden first-class ton on day one.
In response, Rajasthan were under the pump at 115 for four, trailing Delhi by 508 runs at close of play. They clearly have a mountain to climb in their last league game.
Ashok Menaria (38) and Rajesh Bishnoi (23) were at the crease at the draw of stumps.
Leggie Rahul Chahar (5/161) picked a five-wicket haul for Rajasthan.
Virtually out of the quarterfinal race, Delhi need other results to go their way and a big win over Rajasthan to remain in the hunt for a knockout berth.
With just 18 points from seven games, Delhi are currently languishing at the 10th spot in the 18-team Group A and B cross pool and are virtually out of the reckoning, but a bonus point win over Rajasthan and some favourable results can still keep them in the fray.
In Patiala, Punjab, resuming the day at 93 for three, just about managed to take a 13-run first innings lead against Bengal after being bowled out for 151. Bengal were bundled out for 138 on day one.
Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed wreaked havoc on day two, running through Punjab batting to bring his team back into the game.
At stumps, Bengal were 199 for nine, leading Punjab by 186 runs.
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