Lahli (Haryana): The laborious Joginder Sharma took the limelight with a five-for while Sunny Singh led a spirited batting effort as Haryana staged a remarkable fight-back to leave their Ranji Trophy opener against defending champions Mumbai evenly poised on Monday.

Seeking to make a comeback into the Indian team, Mumbai captain Zaheer Khan picked up four wickets, including two at the fag end of second day’s play, to leave Haryana at 224 for nine when stumps were drawn.The hosts, thus, gained an invaluable overall lead of 222 runs, having bowled out Mumbai for 136 in their first innings. Haryana had scored 134 in their first essay.

Haryana rode on Joginder’s inspiring spell of five for 16 and then 26-year-old Sunny led the way with a 63-run knock to frustrate the visitors before Zaheer got into the act. Left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar picked up three wickets for Mumbai but he would be disappointed at being hit for two sixes and a four by Harshal Patel in the day’s penultimate over.

Resuming at overnight 100 for four, Mumbai lasted less than two hours before being bowled out for 136 for a slender two-run lead in their first innings.

Given that 30 wickets tumbled in two days, it would not be easy for Mumbai to chase whatever Haryana set from hereon on this sporting wicket. But the 40-time champions’ have a good batting line-up to chase down the target.
Starting the day on 44, Ajinkya Rahane added seven runs before being trapped in front by Joginder barely five overs into the day’s play. Rahane’s 108-ball 51 included nine hit to the fence, and it was his wicket that opened the floodgates.

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