Ranji Q/F: Haryana makes a comeback on Day 3

At stumps, Haryana was 146 for two in its second innings after conceding a lead of 87 runs following Virat Singh’s century and useful contributions from the Jharkhand lower-order in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the Moti Bagh stadium here on Sunday.

Harshal Patel was the pick-of-the-bowlers for Haryana as he picked up four crucial wickets to bring Haryana back in the contest.   -  S. Dipak Ragav

An incisive spell of fast bowling by Harshal Patel in the first hour followed by an aggressive start by openers Nitin Saini and Shubham Rohilla helped Haryana claw its way back into the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against Jharkhand here at the Moti Bagh stadium here on Sunday.

At stumps, Haryana was 146 for two in its second innings after conceding a lead of 87 runs following Virat Singh’s century and useful contributions from the Jharkhand lower-order.

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Patel struck twice in as many balls in the third over of the day when he dismissed overnight batsmen Ishank Jaggi caught behind and bowled Ishan Kishan, who was unlucky to inside edge onto his pads and then onto the stumps.

In his next over Patel got Kaushal Singh throwing his bat at a wide delivery to reduce Jharkhand to 228 for six before the team got its first run of the day.

Patel made full use of the new ball and the early morning moisture to seize back the initiative for Haryana as he went past Jaggi’s bat a few times in the first over of the day.

However, a small counterattacking cameo by Shahbaz Nadeem and Virat Singh’s composed innings helped Jharkhand recover from the initial setback to go past Haryana’s total of 258.

Nadeem smashed 34 off just 52 balls with five fours and a six, as he and Singh put together 57 runs for the seventh wicket. At the other end, Singh continued to play sensibly without taking any risks as he nudged his way to his second first class ton before getting out trying to clear the infield and finding the mid-on fielder.

With a batsman short after Ashish Kumar’s injury on day one, Rahul Shukla and Samar Quadri piled on the agony for Haryana with a 46-run stand for the ninth wicket, which stretched the lead to 87 before Shukla was trapped leg-before by Amit Mishra.

Haryana started positively with both openers going after Nadeem who picked up seven-wickets in the first innings as they went about wiping out the lead.

Both players were not afraid to take the aerial route with each batsman getting a six of Nadeem early on in the innings as they shared a 79-run opening stand.

Rohilla offered a chance on 15 when he went for an expansive drive off medium-pacer Anand Singh only for keeper Sumit Kumar to make a mess off what was an easy catch.

The best bowler of the day for Jharkhand was leg-spinner Quadri who had the right-handed batsmen regularly beaten and succeeded in removing the openers.