Dagarís ton of weight

Despite playing only his second first-class game, Mukul Dagar is well-known in the Delhi circuit, playing for the same club as Virender Sehwag ó Collage group. He is one of the heaviest scorer, pun unintended, in the local grade.

Growing up as a junior cricketer, the 21-year-old repeatedly hired and fired fitness instructors, in his battle of the bulge. Training twice as much as his mates, Dagar eventually managed to drop below the 90-kg mark and the work seems to be paying off. The native of Gurgaon turned out for Haryana initially before switching over to UP in search of better prospects; and the left-hander has haunted Delhi several times before ó- at the under-16, under-19 levels and scored a century in an under-22 game against them last year.

But nothing would have hurt Delhi more than the 116 he scored at the Nehru stadium on Saturday ó- for the sheer attack he confronted and the restraint he showed to keep his aggressive instincts under check. And this was no age category tournament, but a Ranji fixture.

UP dominate

For the second straight day UP dominated the proceedings to bring a star studded Delhi to its feet. Dagar's hundred and his imposing second-wicket stand worth 196 with Mohammad Kaif helped the hosts conjure up a 57 lead.

It only seemed to get worse, as Delhi lost lost their skipper Virender Sehwag to a finger injury from when he attempted to scoop a catch before tea ó- subsequent X-rays have put him in the clear. The side however, made a belated but much-needed comeback, picking three wickets late wickets to reduce UP to 292 for 6 at close.

Starting the day at 40 for 1, and the ball still fairly shiny and hard, Dagar handled the combine of Ishant Sharma, Ashish Nehra and Narwal with utmost care, but was aggressive against Pradeep Sangwan in particular. Sharma sent welcomed Kaif with a bouncer that hit the batsman on the back of his head but the UP bat countered the short-ball very well thereafter, hooking Nehra for the lone six of the match. Kaif grew in confidence, reaching his half-century in 104 balls with six boundaries and that six, and for even outscored Dagar as UP lunched at152/1.

... contd.

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