Ishan Malhotra put up an all-round performance to help Punjab bounce back into the Ranji Trophy Elite Group round one match by reducing Services to 228 for eight in the second innings on the second day in Chandigarh on Thursday.
Malhotra hit a gritty 63 as Punjab were bowled out for 223 in 54.2 overs in their first innings and later came to scalp four wickets.
Services were leading by 152 runs with two wickets still in hand when the day's play was called off due to bad light.
Malhotra virtually broke the backbone of Services by capturing four wickets for 61 runs, bringing his impressive tally of wickets to nine for 85 in the match. Punjab Captain Dinesh Mongia got two wickets for 21 runs.
At three wickets down for 92 runs in their second venture, Services made a partial recovery with a 66-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Yash Pal Singh (49, 9x4s, 86 balls, 133 minutes) and Sumit Singh Tomar (28, 4x4s).
They carried the total to 158 before Tomar made his exit, caught by Munish off Mongia. The left-arm spinner then bowled Yash Pal Singh for 49.
At close AK Mohanty and Arun Sharma were batting at 29 and three, respectively.
Earlier, Punjab resuming on 130 for 7, were dismissed for 223, taking a first-innings lead of 76 runs mainly due to overnight not out batsmen Malhotra (63, 9x4s, 1x6, 105 minutes, 59 balls) and Amit Uniyal (68, 5x4s, 4x6s, 132 minutes, 93 balls).
The pair accumulated crucial 110 runs for the eighth wicket.
Uniyal enjoyed a life while batting at 39, with team's total of 168 for 7. He was dropped by wicketkeeper Sarabjit of the bowling of Fazil Muhammed (3 for 74). Ishan was floored by Fazil at his individual score of 8.
Services coach Raghubir Singh Jhala admitted these lapses which helped Punjab bounce back into the game. He also blamed his batsmen for playing loose shots.
Aiming to add 50 more runs on Friday morning, Jhala said, ''With a total of 200 at least, we will fight back. We are not going to surrender.'' Meanwhile, Punjab coach Intikhab Alam was satisfied with his team's performance.
Services (Ist innings): 147
Punjab (Ist innings):
Ravneet Ricky c Sarabjit b Fazil 4
Munish Sharma lbw Fazil 5
Dinesh Mongia lbw Pankaj 25
Pankaj Dharmani lbw Fazil 4
Reetinder Sodhi c Yash Pal b Pankaj 41
Ankur Kakkar lbw Pankaj 0
Gourav Gupta c Reddy b Arun 3
Ishan Malhotra st Sarabjit b Mohanty 63
Amit Uniyal lbw Mohanty 68
Rajesh Sharma not out 8
V Sharma run out 0
Extras (w 1, nb 1) 2
Total (all out, 54.2 overs, 264 mins) 223.
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-14, 3-20, 4-74, 5-80, 6-83, 7-83, 8-193, 9-223, 10-223.
Bowling: Fazil Muhammed 18.2-3-74-3 Sudhakar Ghag 10-4-25-0 Pankaj Kumar 9-0-57-3 AK Mohanty 8-0-20-2 Arun Sharma 9-0-47-1.
Services (2nd innings):
Narendera Singh c Rajesh b Malhotra 14
PMS Reddy lbw Rajesh 55
Jasvir Singh c R Sodhi b Malhotra 11
Yash Pal Singh b D Mongia 49
Sumit Singh Tomar c Uniyal b Mongia 28
Sarabjit Singh c Munish b Malhotra 4
A K Mohanty batting 29
Fazil Muhhamed b Uniyal 18
Pankaj Kumar c Gourav b Malhotra 1
Arun Sharma batting 3
Extras (nb 3, w 5, b 1, lb 7) 16
Total (for eight wickets, 64.5 overs) 228
Fall of wickets: 1-34, 2-77, 3-92, 4-158, 5-172, 6-172, 7-214, 8-215.
Bowling: Vineet 7-1-25-0 Amit Uniyal 10.5-3-33-1 Rajesh 14-4-66-1 Ishan Malhotra 17-3-61-4 Reetinder Sodhi 5-1-14-0 Dinesh Mongia 11-4-21-2