Services in the lead, but not out of jail yet
The hosts had started the game perfectly, having dismissed the visiting J&K side for just 85 but had then themselves collapsed to 39/6 before Paliwal (66 not out) and Singh (38 not out) took them to 150/6. With three days left, and only a modest lead so far, the advantage is only marginal.
J&K, confident on the back of consecutive victories, inexplicably chose to bat first in overcast conditions and on a pitch that had more than a tinge of green. While the wicket had indeed been relatively easy to bat on in the previous two games here, history suggested the wicket would change character as the season went on.
If Ian Dev Singh, the J&K skipper, was looking to make a statement, he wouldn’t get a chance as the Services seamers found plenty of movement. Singh edged seamer Suraj Yadav to Anshul Gupta in the slips in just the third over. Yadav then had Hardeep Singh trapped in front with an inswinger in the seventh over and when pace partner Nishan Singh had the other opener Adil Rishi caught plumb in front in the next over, J&K were tottering at 15/3.
Wickets kept falling steadily and tailender Ramdayal Punia tried to swing his way out of trouble and
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