Jammu & Kashmir conceded a 27-run first innings lead but strode back into the game by removing openers Jiwanjot Singh and Manan Vohra before Punjab tottered to 15 by the close on day two of their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the Moti Baugh ground here on Thursday.
The day began with overnight J & K batsman Bandeep Singh facing Manpreet Gony who was backed by a five-slip and gully cordon. Not surprisingly, he was trapped in front, when playing back.
Minutes after the first hour blues were seen off, V.R.V. Singh had Ian Dev’s off-stump erupting with a delivery that kicked in.The backbone
The morning session’s highlight was Adil Rishi’s third half-century this season, the opener being the backbone of J & K’s batting. Holding one end up, often with little support from the other, there was hope on the horizon when Parvez Rasool joined him in the middle.
Shortly after Rishi’s feat, Rasool hoisted Harbhajan, Ravi Inder clutching the catch at deep square-leg but inadvertently over-stepping the rope.
Rishi seemed well set for his next landmark, carting Gony thrice to the fence in one over, the surge in the scoring evident, as though he’d freed his arms. Such fluid stroke-play was too sweet to last, caught as he was on the wrong foot by Yuvraj Singh’s last ball before lunch.
J & K’s travails wouldn’t end there as two more wickets fell in a short span after the mid-day meal.
Majid Dar didn’t look destined to last, nicking V.R.V. Singh to first slip Yuvraj. Off his own bowling, Harbhajan then pulled one huge trick out of the hat, leaping low to his right to grab Hardeep Singh’s half-hearted prod. Figures of that very brief spell read 2-1-1-1!
Rallying his troops was thus thrust on Rasool and he rose to the task with resolve and responsibility. But for that swipe against Harbhajan, the J & K captain kept himself in check, finding admirable support in Samiullah Beig. Hardly nervous in his nineties, Rasool carved two cuts off V.R.V. Singh to bring up his career’s fifth and this season’s second century.
Fifty runs short of the target, he fell, castled by Sandeep Sharma. The seventh-wicket partnership with Beig produced 86, adding teeth to the resistance. Sandeep then yorked Beig, who stands over six feet tall.
The scores: Punjab — 1st innings: 304.
Jammu & Kashmir — 1st innings: Adil Rishi lbw b Yuvraj 65, Obaid Haroon c Khera b Sandeep Sharma 4, Bandeep Singh lbw b Manpreet Gony 4, Ian Dev Singh b V.R.V. Singh 19, Parvez Rasool b Sandeep Sharma 103, Majid Dar c Yuvraj b V.R.V. Singh 3, Hardeep Singh c & b Harbhajan Singh 9, Samiullah Beig b Sandeep Sharma 37, Ram Dayal (not out) 18, Mohammad Mudhasir lbw b Sandeep Sharma 0, Umar Nazir c Vohra b Manpreet Gony 1; Extras (b-1, lb-4, nb-9): 14; Total (in 76.4 overs): 277.
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-16, 3-62, 4-143, 5-151, 6-168, 7-254, 8-265, 9-265.
Punjab bowling: Sandeep Sharma 19-4-46-4, Manpreet Gony 17.4-1-70-2, V.R.V. Singh 18-1-65-2, Harbhajan Singh 12-1-57-1, Yuvraj Singh 8-0-26-1, Gurkeerat Singh 2-0-8-0.
Punjab — 2nd innings: Manan Vohra b Umar Nazir 7, Jiwanjot Singh c Beig b Mohammad Mudhasir 8, Sandeep Sharma (batting) 0, Ravi Inder Singh (batting) 0; Total (for two wkts. in 10 overs): 15.
Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-15.
Jammu & Kashmir bowling: Samiullah Beig 3-1-8-0, Umar Nazir 5-4-3-1, Mohammad Mudhasir 3-2-4-1.