THUMBA (Kerala): Skipper Sachin Baby grinded a listless Delhi attack to hit 155 as Kerala gained complete control, first by posting a mammoth 525 for 9 and then removing the two opposition openers here on the second day of their Ranji Trophy group A campaign.
Left-hander Baby, carried on the good work done on the opening day by centurion Robin Uthappa and Ponnam Rahul (97), as his 274-ball knock had 13 hits to the fence.
His innings was the primary reason that Kerala went past the 500-run mark as a tired Delhi side lost both its openers — Anuj Rawat cleaned by off-spinner Jalaj Saxena and Kunal Chandela (1) edging one to Mohammed Azharuddeen behind stumps off pacer Sandeep Warrier.
Skipper Dhruv Shorey and his deputy Nitish Rana were at the crease and the only other specialist batsman in the side is left-handed Jonty Sidhu.
Delhi will first look at a score of 376 to avoid follow-on and take it from thereon. However it looks an uphill task at the moment in the manner the match has panned out so far.
After looking pedestrian on opening day, Delhi bowling seemed to have found its mojo back for a brief period when Vishnu Vinod (5) and Azhar (15) were dismissed in quick succession reducing Kerala to 310 for 5.
Just when it seemed Delhi would do well to restrict the hosts under 375, Baby and Salman Nizar (77 off 144 balls) added 156 runs at a decent pace to gain the momentum.
Delhi’s specialist — debutant leg-break bowler Tejas Baroka (3/128 in 30 overs), offie Shivam Sharma (2/112 in 34 overs) and orthodox slow left-arm Vikas Mishra (1/107 in 34 overs) had the ignominy of conceding 100 runs each.
Baby had 13 hits to the fence while Nizar hit nine fours and two sixes.
Once Nizar was out, Baby shielded the tail beautifully as another 31 invaluable runs were added with Karaparambil Monish (9) which took the score closer to 500.
Baby, who scored his sixth first-class hundred, was the eighth batsman out, bowled by all-rounder Lalit Yadav (2/47 in 21 overs) trying to up the ante.
Once the ninth wicket fell, Baby decided to declare, rightfully denying Delhi’s shoddy bowling attack of getting the opposition all-out.
At Thumba: Kerala 1st Innings 525/9 decl (Sachin Baby 155 off 274 balls, Robin Uthappa 102 off 221 balls, Ponnam Rahul 97 off 174, Salman Nizar 77 off 144 balls, Tejas Baroka 3/128, Shivam Sharma 2/112, Vikas Mishra 1/107 in 34 overs). Delhi 1st Innings 23/2.
At Hyderabad: Hyderabad 1st Innings 233. Gujarat 1st Innings 295/9 (Manprit Juneja 94, Rujul Bhatt 65, Mehidy Hassan 4/78).
At Vijaywada: Andhra 1st Innings 211 all out. Vidarbha 268/4 (Ganesh Satish 113 batting, Mohit Kale 82, Wasim Jaffer 0, Cheepurapalli Stephen 3/76 in 26 overs).
At Jaipur: Rajasthan 1st Innings 257 (Ashok Menaria 60, Salman Khan 53, Siddarth Kaul 4/68). Punjab 1st Innings 290/6 (Mandeep Singh 122, Gurkeerat Singh 68, Anmol Malhotra 68 batting, Khaleel Ahmed 0/52 in 18 overs).