PUNE — Delhi rode on centuries from openers Gautam Gambhir (127) and Kunal Chandela (113) to reach a commanding 271/3 against Bengal at stumps on the second day of their Ranji Trophy semi-final at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here Dec. 18.
With Bengal scoring a below par 286 in their first essay, they are sure to concede the first innings lead.
Bengal, however, bounced back in the final session of play sneaking three quick wickets, including the prized scalp of Gambhir, who fell to pacer Mohammed Shami.
The 36-year-old Gambhir, earlier looked in complete control en route his 42nd first-class century in the company of young Chandela, who is playing only his third first-class match.
Gambhir, who missed a century by mere five runs in the quarter-final against Madhya Pradesh, hit two back to back boundaries off Amir Gani to reach the three figure mark in 122 balls.
Chandela on the other hand, came in to the semi-final on the back of two successive half centuries in the quarter-final and made the most of the opportunity Dec. 18.
The youngster waited for the pitched up deliveries, playing those flowing cover drives while the ones rising from length were defended during the 232-run opening stand, comprising 18 fours.
Chandela, however, lost concentration after reaching 113 off 192 balls helping Boddupalli Amit get the first breakthrough for Bengal.
Paceman Ashok Dinda, who had an otherwise forgettable day in the field, struck with the wicket of one-drop Dhruv Shorey (12) before Shami ended Gambhir's 216-ball stay in the middle.
Earlier, resuming the day at 269/7, Bengal could add only 17 runs to their overnight score.
For Delhi, pacer Navdeep Saini ended with three wickets while Kulwant Khejroliya and left-arm spinner Manan Sharma chipped in with two scalps each.
Bengal: 1st Innings 286 (Sudeep Chatterjee 83, Navdeep Saini 3/55, Manan Sharma 2/37) vs Delhi 271/3 (Gautam Gambhir 127, Kunal Chandela 113)