Ishant Sharma returned a sensational seven for 24 but Delhi were still looking down the barrel with just a 36-run lead and six second innings wickets at hand on a dramatic opening day of their Ranji Super League match against Orissa which saw 24 wickets tumbling in New Delhi on Saturday.
Delhi were 38 for four with skipper Virender Sehwag (27) and R Bhatia (1) at the crease when stumps were drawn after bad lights stopped play in the Forez Shah Kotla stadium.
Earlier in their first innings, Delhi were bundled out for just 78 runs from 25.2 overs. In reply, Orissa did just a shade better, being bowled out for 80 in 27.3 overs.
Put in to bat by Orissa this morning, Delhi looked in trouble right from the start as Orissa seamers -- Debashis Mohanty, Basant Mohanty and Sukanta Khatua -- ripped through their batting order, scalping three wickets each.
Star batsmen Virender Sehwag (17), Gautam Gambhir (0) and Virat Kohli (16) failed to shine as the hosts were shot out for 78 in 25.2 overs.
With the lacklustre performance of the star batsmen, a lot was expected from Ishant Sharma and he didn't disappoint. The lanky bowler created havoc for the visiting batsmen with his fierce pace and returned with a magical figure of 8.3-2-24-7.
Orissa had seven ducks with the only exception of opener B S Pati (32), who emerged top scorer with the help of six boundaries. But it wasn't enough as the visitors lost last five wickets at the score of 80, to take a first innings lead of just two runs.
In their second essay, Delhi had a similar start as left-handed opener Gambhir returned with another duck in the second over when he tried to step out and hit a Basant Mohanty delivery only to see his middle stump tumbling.
Aakash Chopra (6) and Sehwag (27) then tried to steady the ship but soon Chopra departed in the seventh over to leave the hosts struggling at 19 for two.
Sukanta Khatua then struck two major blows, removing Virat Kohli (0) and M Manhas (0) in the 12th over to further dent Delhi's chances of a recovery.
However, Sehwag kept the scoreboard ticking and struck four boundaries and one six as the hosts finished the day at 38 for four in 15 overs.
Needing a win against Orissa to stay afloat in the tournament, Delhi went for a green pitch only to fall in its own trap and coach Vijay Dahiya had no qualms in admitting that.
"Yes, we wanted a green pitch because we wanted to win the match and grab five points to enhance our chances but the top-order batsmen played some lose shots and perished too quickly," he said.
Asked as what target they would like to set for the visitors, Dahiya said, "Looking at the pitch anything is possible but we would look to score something above the 100-run mark."
Orissa coach Venkatapathy Raju said it was the pace of Ishant Sharma that did them in, in the first innings.
"Our batsmen are not used to play such pace deliveries. Ishant bowls very quick, around 144-146km/hr and his deliveries are very straight and so it made the difference," he said.
"However, the match is still open and we have some quality swing bowlers and we hope anything around 175 would be a good score to chase," he added.
Delhi 1st Innings:
Aakash Chopra b B Mohanty 8
Gautam Gambhir lbw D Mohanty 0
Virender Sehwagrun out (Dhiraj Singh) 17
Virat Kohli c Haldhar b B Mohanty 16
Mithun Manhasc Haldhar b B Mohanty 1
Rajat Bhatia b S Khatua 4
Puneet Bisht c Haldhar b S Khatua 4
Sumit Narwal c Jaychandra b D Mohanty 9
Pradeep Sangwan b S Khatua 0
Ishant Sharma not out 2
Parvinder Awana c B Mohanty b D Mohanty 2
Extras (B-1, LB-9, NB-4, W-1) 15
Total (all out in 25.2 overs) 78
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-18, 3-39, 4-45, 5-52, 6-60, 7-74, 8-74, 9-74
Bowling: D Mohanty 8.2-1-26-3, B Mohanty 10-2-25-3, S Khatua 7-1-17-3.
Orissa 1st Innings:
B S Pati lbw b Ishant 32
Shiv Sunder Das b Ishant 0
Niranjan Behera c Bisht b Ishant 0
Subit Biswal b Ishant 8
Pravanjan Mulik c Bisht b P Sangwan 13
P Jayachandra b Ishant 0
Haldhar Das c Bisht b P Awana 9
Debashish Mohanty b P Awana 0
Sukhanta Khatua b Ishant 0
Basant Mohanty not out 0
Dhiraj Singh b Ishant 0
Extras: (B-5, LB-9, NB-4) 18
Total: (All out in 27.3 overs) 80
Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-7, 3-32, 4-61, 5-61, 6-80, 7-80, 8-80, 9-80.
Bowling: P Sangwan 8-1-28-1, I Sharma 8.3-2-24-7, S Narwal 6-3-13-0, P Awana 5-4-1-2.
Delhi 2nd Innings:
A Chopra c Dhiraj b D Mohanty 6
G Gambhir b B Mohanty 0
V Sehwagbatting 27
V Kohli b Khatua 0
M Manhasb Khatua 0
R Bhatiabatting 1
Extras: (B-1, NB-3) 4
Total: (for four wickets in 15 overs) 38
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-19, 3-28, 4-28
Bowling: D Mohanty 8-3-14-1, B Mohanty 3-1-13-1, S Khatua 4-2-10-2.