With just a day left, a struggling Haryana, playing in front of their home crowd in Lahli, needed a performance of pride from someone to bring them back into the game. On Saturday, they found their man in Joginder Singh. The medium pacer took it upon himself to deliver and responded to his team's requirements with a destructive seven wicket spell including an hat-trick.
It was his spell that eventually sent Andhra Pradesh on the back foot on the third day of their Ranji Trophy elite group super league encounter.
On a wicket, that looked nowhere near unplayable, Joginder stuck to his basics and tormented the visiting batsmen with an impeccable line and length. Though it was Sunny Singh who gave Haryana the much-needed breakthrough, it was Joginder's spell that made Andhra anxious.
That Joginder bowled a tight line and length can be gauged from the fact that five of his seven wickets were leg before decision or bowled.
Earlier, Andhra, who started the day at 68 for three lost their first wicket when Sunny Singh bowled Mohd Rana for 13. Top scorer LNP Reddy and Gnaneswar Rao tried to steadied the innings. Just when they were looking good for a few more, disaster struck in the form of Joginder who scalped four Andhra wickets in the first innings too.
AG Pradeep along with experienced RVC Prasad tried to pull the visitors out of the mire but they also failed to convert their starts into substantial scores.
Chasing 242 for an outright win, Haryana lost Sunny Singh early in their second innings. But Sumit Sharma and one down Deepak Joon defied the Andhra bowlers for a brief while before skipper Venugopal Rao who otherwise had a disastrous match, trapped Joon in front.
The hosts ended the day at 92 for the loss of three wickets. Shafiq Khan (29) and Sachin Rana (7) were the two unbeaten batsmen respectively.