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Thursday, July 19, 2018

An unexpected turnaround

Joginder Sharma picks up five wickets to leave Haryana-Mumbai game evenly poised.

Written by Sandeep Dwivedi | Lahli | Published: October 29, 2013 1:55:58 am

The contest between angry,frustrated pacers and tailenders with a death wish has its own charm. That’s the closest cricket comes to being a combat sport. Bowler running in hard,ball aimed at head,wild swing of the bat,play and miss,aggressive follow-through,cold stare,angry exchange and finally the reluctant withdrawal. The back-off,actually,is merely a break before a fresh locking of horns.

In the days of disciplined bowlers and long batting lineups,such entertaining exchanges have become rare. But Lahli saw one such old-style battle towards close of play on Day Two.

With Haryana nine down,a charged-up Zaheer Khan wanted a quick end to their innings. A wicket would have seen him finish with a five-for and his team would have known the fourth-innings target they would chase on Day Three of this Ranji Trophy match. Having taken the wickets of Haryana old hands Ajay Jadeja (a painful,21-ball duck) and Joginder Sharma (2) in the space of 10 balls,Zaheer’s bowling revealed desperation. He bowled short in an effort to intimidate Haryana’s No. 9 and No. 11,but Harshal Patel and Ashish Hooda weren’t the nervous kind. Showing remarkable survival skills,they took Haryana’s score from 206/9 to 224/9 at stumps. Mumbai’s two-run first innings lead meant Haryana were ahead by 222 with a wicket in hand.

The game isn’t expected to go the distance. Day Three could well be the final day of this game and 29/10/2013 could well be the date when Tendulkar wears the Mumbai colours one last time. The stage is set for an intriguing chase and the precursor for the grand departure at Wankhede in little over a fortnight. Lahli might chant ‘Sachin,Sachin’ all day.

The wave that brought a fall

It was one such chant that triggered Haryana’s collapse. At 186/5,Haryana dreamed of reaching around 300. The hard yards put in by Rahul Dewan (44) and Sunny Singh (63) had helped and with Jadeja and Jayant Yadav (45) at crease,the chance of another big partnership was bright. That’s when Tendulkar at mid-on did a Jadeja on Jadeja. He waved at the crowd each time Zaheer began his run-up,triggering pandemonium in the stands behind him. On one occasion,Jadeja moved away,distracted by the spike in the decibel levels. Soon he lost concentration and was caught in the slips.

Zaheer got rid of Joginder soon after. Hooda and Patel,however,defied and delayed Mumbai’s march. The left-arm pacer,who is in line for a recall to the Test squad,was at his best in his final spell. He bowled 19 overs for his four wickets,but wasn’t particularly penetrative early on. With the new ball,on a wicket that helped the seamers,he wasn’t the threat many thought he would be. That might have been the reason for his frustration towards the end of the Day.

Brief scores: Haryana 128 and 224/9 in 68 overs (Sunny Singh 63,Jayant Yadav 45; Zaheer Khan 4/59,Vishal Dabholkar 4/54) vs Mumbai 134 in 35.5 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 51,Dhawal Kulkarni not out 25; Joginder Sharma 5/16,Mohit Sharma 2/36).

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