Mohali: Though out-of-favour India spinner Harbhajan Singh managed just one wicket, rookie seamers Sandeep Sharma and Brainder Sran made up for that by sharing seven between them, which reduced Orissa to 246 for nine on Day one of their Ranji Trophy match against Punjab on Thursday.

After Harbhajan elected to field, right-arm medium pacer Sharma and left-arm seamer Sran - both aged 19 - vindicated their skipper's decision by reducing Orissa to 152 for seven at one stage.

While Sharma finsihed the opening day of the Group A Super League encounter with impressive figures of four for 52, Sran had three for 62.

Subhrajit Sahoo proved to be the only saving grace in a disastrous middle-order showing, scoring 56 runs which he earned through 144 minutes of sheer hard work.

Basant Mohanty (58 not out) and Deepak Behera (47) then gave the top-order a lesson in batting by adding 83 valuable runs for the eight wicket, which took the visitors to a respectable position.

Both Mohanty and Behera hit eight boundaries during their stay at the wicket.

Harbhajan bowled 18 overs while conceding 44 runs for the wicket of Lagnajit Samal.

Earlier, sent into bat, Orissa were off to a bad start as Sran bowled Binay Pati with just seven runs on the board.

Sran then dismissed Paresh Patel and Biplab Samantray cheaply to reduce Orissa to 23 for three, before Sharma made it 46 for six by removing Abhilash Mallick.

Skipper Natraj Behera, fighting a lone battle, gave away after spending 100 minutes as Sharma struck again. There were two partnerships after that - 49 for the sixth and 47 for the seventh wicket - before Mohanty and Behera joined hands.

Brief scores: Orissa 246 for nine in 83 overs (Mohanty 58 not out, Sahoo 56, Behera 47; Sharma 4/52, Sran 3/62).

(Agencies)