Palam: Riding on Rajat Paliwal's well composed 143 not out, Services finished Day 2 on 302 for 8 leading Assam by 120 runs here at the Palam ground on Sunday. The Palam pitch provided Assam bowlers with ample assistance early on, but as the pitched eased out Paliwal took centre stage cracking his second century of the season to revive the Services innings from a precarious position of 113 for 6. The tail waged for the hosts as Suraj Yadav and Nishan Singh supported Paliwal well. Suraj, who starred with the ball on day one showed his might with the bat today scoring 29 off 29 balls compiling a crucial 63-run stand with Paliwal. Late in the day, Nishan (15*) put up a good resistance with an unbeaten 68-run stand with the centurion.
Earlier in the day, Services struggled against Assam pacers as they were reduced to 91 for 5 going into lunch. Starting on an overnight score of 11 for 0, the hosts lost their captain Soomik Chatarjee and Ansuhl Gupta in the first hour of play. Soumya Ranjan Swain then took on the bowlers scoring 33 runs with seven boundaries and along with Yashpal Singh steadied the ship for the hosts. But, Swain failed to carry on as he was clean bowled shouldering arm to a straight ball by Dhiraj Goswami. Aroop Das, who extracted maximum bounce from the pitch then got the big wicket of Yashpal Singh for 18 runs just before lunch to leave Services tottering.
In the second session, Paliwal and the new batsman, Suraj, changed the complexion of the game with a quick fire partnership of 53 runs. Yadav hit some lusty blows over covers punishing Nechim and Co. for persisting with back of length line. The 21-year-old Paliwal, on the other hand, looked calm and composed as he drove the ball with confidence accumulating runs in a tidy manner. Only glitch in his entire innings was when he was dropped on 33 by Aroop. Paliwal was cramped for space attempting a hook as the ball ballooned up in the air, Aroop came running to claim the catch but he dropped it. The 21-year-old scored 13 boundaries en route to his century. Nishan joined the Haryana boy after the fall of Yadav and gave the middle-order batsman company till stumps were drawn on day two.
For Assam, AK Das got three wickets with Goswami and Nechim getting two wickets each. Lower middle-order batsman Shadab Nazar also got a reprieve as he was dropped at second slip by Goswami and went on to score 29 runs before getting out to Arlen Konwar. On Day 3, Services would be looking to pile on the lead as quickly as possible to put Assam batsman in for the chase and let the fast bowlers’ have a crack at them before the wicket eases out.