VRV ends five-year wait with five-for
Punjab 50 for 3 trail Haryana 163 (Barot 65, VRV Singh 5-38) by 113 runs
Lahli, the setting for Sachin Tendulkar's final domestic game, became the scene for a memorable comeback. Five years after he last played a first-class game, Punjab fast bowler VRV Singh returned to the domestic circuit and took a five-for, routing Haryana for 163. The hosts, however, hit right back, grabbing three Punjab wickets, including that of Jiwanjot Singh before the end of the day.
The opening day's honours belonged to VRV Singh. Aided by a pitch that looked as green as the outfield around it, he built on the early advantage that Sandeep Sharma had created by dismissing Sunny Singh and Rahul Dalal cheaply. Opener Avi Barot, who had transferred from Gujarat for this season, was playing a watchful innings at the other end. Soon after he was introduced into the attack, VRV Singh had Barot playing a lofted drive, straight to Taruwar Kohli at cover.
That dismissal triggered the slide for Haryana, even as Nitin Saini tried stepping into Barot's role. VRV Singh then dismissed Sachin Rana for 1 and took three lower-order wickets, ensuring that Punjab did not miss the services of Harbhajan Singh, who has been advised rest due to a shoulder niggle. Amit Mishra, playing his first first-class game in a year was out for 5 off 26 balls. Saini was the last man to fall for 163 in an innings that lasted only 59.1 overs.
The Punjab openers started steadily before Sanjay Badhwar got Jiwanjot out for 8 off 40 balls and Mohit Sharma bowled Ravi Inder Singh for 22. Harshal Patel struck another blow by dismissing Mandeep Singh for 2 to leave Punjab on 50 for 3, trailing by 113 runs.