Only Haryana can defeat itself. By batting poorly! It needs 170 runs more to make it to the Ranji Trophy final. Rajasthan would look to claim eight wickets and try to have a shot at retaining the title.

Intrigue and excitement shall mark the third day of the contest on Thrusday. In all probability, unless the weather intervenes, it should be the decisive day at the Chaudhary Bansi Lal Stadium here.

Bowlers continued to dominate, but there was one man, Vineet Saxena, who demonstrated how to bat on a testing pitch when three other stalwarts in the Rajasthan team came a cropper.

Haryana, resuming at 82 for eight, folded up after taking a first innings lead of eight runs. By close, Rajasthan had been bowled out for 192 and Haryana was 15 for two. The story of batsmen succumbing to bowling craft continued.

Saxena was a glorious exception. His 58 off 119 balls with 10 fours was a confirmation of his form and technique.

“The ball is moving, bounce is variable, but the basics remain the same. Play in the ‘V', close the body and runs will come. Batting is not that easy because you don't get the feeling that you are set. You can get out anytime. The mind is not responding quickly due to the cold conditions,” said Saxena.

The pitch has settled even if the ball has begun to keep low. Rituraj Singh's seam bowling earned him seven for 45 as he kept Rajasthan in the hunt but the batsmen let the side down again later. Sachin Rana, a gritty cricketer, picked up four wickets and Harshal Patel two, as Haryana did not lose its grip. Skipper and leg-spinner Amit Mishra scalped two, one with a flipper to remove the confident R.R. Parida.

The scores:

Rajasthan — 1st innings: 89.

Haryana — 1st innings: Nitin Saini lbw b Rituraj 5, Rahul Dewan lbw b Rituraj 2, Sunny Singh c Chopra b Pankaj 0, Prateek Pawar b Rituraj 0, Sachin Rana c Yagnik b Pankaj 5, Priyank Tehlan c Pankaj b Rituraj 11, Amit Mishra c Bisht b Rituraj 12, Jayant Yadav lbw b Mathur 23, Mohit Sharma c Bist b Rituraj 22, Harshal Patel lbw b Rituraj 10, Ashish Hooda (not out) 3; Extras (b-4): 4: Total (in 47.5 overs): 97.

Fall of wickets: 1- 6, 2- 7, 3- 7, 4-12, 5-12, 6-31, 7-40, 8-73, 9-88.

Rajasthan bowling: Pankaj Singh 16-6-27-2, Rituraj Singh 18.5-5-45-7, Sumit Mathur 13-6-21-1.

Rajasthan — 2nd innings: Aakash Chopra b Rana 8, Vineet Saxena (run out) 58, Hrishikesh Kanitkar c (sub) Y. Chahal b Patel 7, Robin Bist c Rana b Patel 44, R. R. Parida lbw b Mishra 23, Puneet Yadav lbw b Rana 22, Dishant Yagnik c Sunny b Mishra 2, Rituraj Singh b Rana 1, Gajendra Singh c Mishra b Rana 1, Pankaj Singh (not out) 13, Sumit Mathur c Rana b Mohit 1; Extras (lb-10, nb-2): 12; Total (in 68.5 overs): 192.

Fall of wickets: 1- 27, 2- 56, 3-98, 4-144, 5-174, 6-174, 7-175, 8-177, 9-179.

Haryana bowling: Mohit Sharma 14.2-1-42-1, Harshal Patel 17-5-45-2, Sachin Rana 14.3-3-26-4, Aashish Hooda 3-0-16-0, Amit Mishra 16-5-38-2, Jayant Yadav 4-1-15-0.

Haryana — 2nd innings: Nitin Saini (batting) 9, Rahul Dewan c Yagnik b Rituraj 0, Sunny Singh c Yagnik b Pankaj 1, Harshal Patel (batting) 1; Extras (lb-4 ): 4; Total (for two wkts in seven overs): 15.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-1.

Rajasthan bowling: Pankaj Singh 4-4-0-1, Rituraj Singh 3-0-11-1.

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