An intriguing third day is on the cards as hosts Haryana need another 170 runs for victory with eight wickets in hand against defending champions Rajasthan [ Images ] in the Ranji Trophy semi-final, being played at the Bansi Lal stadium in Rohtak.
Rajasthan's batsmen gave a better account of themselves in the second innings, scoring 192, after Haryana's first innings folded for 97, providing the hosts a slender lead of eight runs.
Haryana were precariously placed at 15 for 2 at stumps on Wednesday, chasing 185, with in-form opener Rahul Dewan (0) and experienced No 3 Sunny Singh (1) both back in the hut.
A target of 185 is certainly achievable, but what makes the total look competitive is the lack of technique to battle it out on a seaming track.
The manner in which Dewan and Sunny poked at away-going deliveries without any feet movement, showed that hosts were batting with a defensive mindset.
Promoting Harshal Patel as night-watchman was another indication.
Probably, Haryana can do themselves world of good if they take a leaf out of veteran Rajasthan opener Vineet Saxena's (58, 119 balls, 10x4) book.
Saxena is not one of the most attractive players, but he had the guts to fight it out on a challenging strip where each and every run is important. He looked good for a big score but an unfortunate misunderstanding with Robin Bist (44, 109 balls, 4x4, 1x6) saw him get run-out.
Rajasthan's chance for a bigger lead vanished with Saxena's dismissal.
Bist and senior-pro Rashmi Ranjan Parida (23) and Puneet Yadav (22) all got out after getting set.
Sachin Rana's military medium stuff got him four scalps while Harshal Patel and skipper Amit Mishra [ Images ] got two wickets each.
Harshal thus had career-best match-figures of 10 for 79. A few runs with willow on Day 2 will certainly help his cause.
Rajasthan (1st innings): 89
Haryana (1st innings): overnight 82-8
M Sharma c Bist b RR Singh 22
H Patel lbw b RR Singh 10
A Hooda not out 3
Extras: (B-4) 4
Total: (all out in 47.5 overs) 97
Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-7, 3-7, 4-12, 5-12, 6-31, 7-40, 8-73, 9-88.
Bowling: P Singh 16-6-27-2, R Singh 18.5-5-45-7, S Mathur 13-6-21-1.
Rajasthan (2nd innings):
A Chopra b Rana 8
V Saxena run out (Pawar) 58
H Kanitkar c sub (YS Chahal) b Patel 7
R Bist c Rana b Patel 44
R Parida lbw b Mishra 23
Puneet Yadav lbw b Rana 22
D Yagnik c Sunny Singh b Mishra 2
R Singh b Rana 1
G Singh c Mishra b Rana 1
Pankaj Singh not out 13
S Mathur c Rana b Sharma 1
Extras: (LB-10, NB-2) 12
Total: (all out in 68.5 overs) 192
Fall of wickets: 1-27, 2-56, 3-98, 4-144, 5-174, 6-174, 7-175, 8-177, 9-179.
Bowling: M Sharma 14.2-1-42-1, H Patel 17-5-45-2, S Rana 14.3-3-26-4, A Hooda 3-0-16-0, A Mishra 16-5-38-2, J Yadav 4-1-15-0.
Haryana (2nd innings):
N Saini not out 9
R Dewan c Yagnik b RR Singh 0
Sunny Singh c Yagnik b Pankaj Singh 1
H Patel not out 1
Extras: (LB-4) 4
Total: (for 2 wickets in 7 overs) 15
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-1
Bowling: P Singh 4-4-0-1, R Singh 3-0-11-1.