Delhi inched closer to victory as Odisha were left struggling at 229 for six in the second innings on the penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy tie at the Ferozshah Kotla here Sunday.
Orissa have a lead of 41 runs and with four wickets in hand they will have a mountain to climb to prevent an outright defeat against Delhi, who scored 331 in the first innings.
At stumps, Odisha skipper Natraj Behera and Deepak Behera were batting on 35 and four, respectively.
Odisha starting their day at 7/0, trailing by 181 runs, and their batsmen dug-deep and did not throw away wickets, playing cautiously. They didn't commit the mistakes they did in the first innings when they were skittled out for a paltry 143.
Opener Paresh Patel (6) was caught in front of the stumps on the fifth ball of the morning by pacer Pawan Suyal. Abhilash Mallick (26) tried batting for long, however, was caught plumb by all-rounder Sumit Narwal.
However, Govinda Poddar (85) and Biplab Samantray (47) forged a 84-run partnership from 59/2 and provided solidity in their innings.
Poddar struck a swashbuckling 85 of 171 balls. His innings including fifteen splendid boundaries all over the Kotla. Just when it seemed the 21-year-old Poddar would be scoring his second hundred he played back a ball back to the bowler, Narwal this time, who dropped a difficult catch.
However, two balls later Narwal clean bowled Poddar giving the hosts a much needed breakthrough.
The visitors who had scored 114 runs losing two wickets in the 36 overs in the morning session, managed just 61 more in the post-lunch session.
Nataraj and Samantray put together 59 runs for the fourth wicket before Samantray was caught of the bowling of Suyal.
Delhi got the upperhand in the post-tea session bagging three wickets giving away only 47 runs.
"Our first target is to get the four wickets. Then it'll depend on what the target is and we will go accordingly. The wicket is not one where you can easily score runs. You can stay in there on it but scoring runs is difficult as the ball does not come on to the bat," said Delhi skipper Shikhar Dhawan.
"We contained well in the last two sessions. I am happy with the way my bowlers bowled. All the bowlers players performed their roles," added Dhawan.
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