After two sessions were lost to poor visibility owing to the blanket of fog that enveloped the Bansi Lal Stadium here at Lahli, Tamil Nadu had better of the exchanges against a still-comfortable Haryana on the second day of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals on Saturday.
Unlike Friday, Christmas Day did not give Haryana many reasons to make merry during 127 minutes of play possible after tea. The host resumed its first innings at 293 for two and reached 379 for six when play was suspended and later called off due to inadequate light. After the delayed start, if Haryana was looking to trade wickets for some quick runs, the approach was understandable. Eventually, in 26 overs of play possible, Haryana scored 86 runs but lost four wickets.
Tamil Nadu bowlers bowled better on this day and richly deserved the wickets of overnight centurion Nitin Saini (150, 16x4, 2x6) and Joginder Sharma, who offered catches in the slip cordon. But for the other two wickets, those of overnight not-out Ankit Rawat and danger man Hemang Badani (31, 5x4), Tamil Nadu should consider itself fortunate to get favourable leg-before decisions from umpire Sanjay Hazare.
If Rawat and Badani were disappointed, they had every reason to be after playing well forward. Rawat was unfortunate not to get the benefit of doubt after the ball from L. Balaji hit the knee-roll and seemed to be going well over the stumps. The left-handed Badani, looking good to cause more damage to his former team, too, was given out after off-spinner R. Ashwin bowled from the edge of the crease and the ball struck the batsman low on the outstretched front pad as he offered a defensive bat. Here, a top-spinner would have missed the leg-stump and an off-break, gone past the off-stump. Indeed, Hazare took his time to give his decision.
A disappointed Haryana can now only pray for the same consistency from the umpire when Tamil Nadu comes out to bat. Looking at the conditions prevailing here, it is difficult to foresee the completion of 180 overs in the remaining two days. In such a scenario, Haryana can revise its desired score and still put pressure on the visiting team.
With the fog having descended on this rural destination and bone-chilling winds likely to prevail, it will be testing times for Tamil Nadu. It will have to not only counter the bowlers who are expected to use the conditions better, but also stay physically in shape to meet the challenge of an inspired opposition.
The scores: Haryana — 1st innings: Nitin Saini c Sathish b Balaji 150, Rahul Dewan c Dinesh Karthik b Sam 10, Sunny Singh c Arun Karthik b Ashwin 102, Ankit Rawat lbw b Sam 20, Hemang Badani lbw b Ashwin 31, Joginder Sharma c Vasudeva Das b Balaji 5, Amit Mishra (batting) 15, Dhruv Singh (batting) 5; Extras (b-8, lb-12, nb-14, w-7) 41, Total (for six wickets in 116 overs) 379.
Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-260, 3-319, 4-324, 5-344, 6-362.
Tamil Nadu bowling: L. Balaji 26-2-92-2, C. Ganapathi 16-3-51-0, Sunil Sam 20-5-56-2, R. Sathish 8-2-18-0, M. Abhinav 2-0-9-0, Aushik Srinivas 16-3-57-0, R. Ashwin 28-2-76-2.
Keywords: Ranji Trophy