Ranji Trophy: Openers put Haryana in control

Responding to Hyderabad’s first innings tally of 191, Haryana was 236 for four thanks to half-centuries by openers Nitin Saini and Shubham Rohilla.

RANJI TROPHY HARYANA

Nitin Saini batted for over three hours for his 61.   -  PTI

Treading cautiously, Haryana consolidated the gains from the first day over an inconsistent Hyderabad and ended the second day with a 45-run lead.

Responding to Hyderabad’s first innings tally of 191, Haryana was 236 for four at the halfway stage of the four-day clash. After openers Nitin Saini and Shubham Rohilla scored half centuries to give Haryana a foundation of 126 runs, Hyderabad managed to cause some damage in the second session.

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But with six wickets in hand, Haryana is looking to swell the lead. Hyderabad will have to be more disciplined on Saturday prevent Haryana from doing so.

“We need to score at least 150 runs before tea on Saturday and keep Hyderabad under pressure. A lead of around 200 runs would also mean we may not be required to do much in the fourth innings,” said Haryana’s coach and former India wicketkeeper Vijay Yadav.

If the opening-wicket stand was the cornerstone of Haryana’s innings, Hyderabad’s catching and K. Sumanth’s wicketkeeping left much to be desired. Having posted a sub-200 total, Hyderabad was expected come up with a disciplined effort on the field but, on the contrary, it made things easy for Haryana.

Two catches were floored in gully and Sumanth missed two. A total of 18 byes -- having something to do with fast bowler Ravi Kiran’s lack of discipline -- also impacted Sumanth’s confidence.

In the first session, it was Haryana all the way. Rohilla followed his 92 against Services last week with another impressive 60 while his senior partner Saini played second fiddle with a 37 as the duo frustrated Hyderabad to reach 94 without loss at lunch.

On resumption, Saini reached his 10th half century in the championship but soon lost the company of Rohilla. After hitting 10 boundaries during his 130-ball innings, Rohilla fell leg-before to medium pacer Mohammad Siraj.

The arrival of a circumspect Chaitanya Bishnoi, who struggled to rotate the strike, helped Hyderabad regain some confidence. Bishnoi’s lack of initiative affected Saini as only 12 runs came off 11.1 overs. At this point, Saini lost his concentration and was bowled by left-arm spinner Mehdi Hasan.

Even as Bishnoi continued to make batting look difficult and reached nine from 73 balls, Himanshu Rana scored 22 with three boundaries but became Siraj’s second leg-before victim at the stroke of tea.

Bishnoi finally reached double-figures after 77 deliveries! Former Services captain Rajat Paliwal looked more assured during his 30-ball 18 until he departed, leg-before to Hasan. Bishnoi continued his laborious effort with seven boundaries in his 47 off 162 deliveries.

Bishnoi and Rohit Sharma added 25 runs off 13.4 overs and succeeded in denying Hyderabad more success in the final session.