Railways skipper Karn Sharma led from the front, as he hit a gritty century and helped his team take a massive 152-run first innings lead against Mumbai on the second day of their Elite Group B Ranji Trophy game here on Thursday.
In their second essay, Mumbai were struggling at 64/3, as the 41-time domestic champions, are still trailing by 88 runs.
It was due to Sharma's heroics with the bat (112 not out) and a valiant 72-run knock by Arindam Ghosh, that the Railways were able to go past the 250-run mark, after they were teetering at 43/5 at one stage.
Courtesy pacer T Pradeep's six-wicket haul on Wednesday, the Railways had bundled out Mumbai for paltry 114 in their first innings.
As announced on Wednesday, the play began at around 11.30 pm and the Railways resumed their innings on 116/5, when they were two runs ahead of Mumbai.
Left-handed Sharma and Ghosh played cautiously and kept frustrating the Mumbai bowlers, as they stitched a 116- run stand for the sixth wicket.
Sharma, in his unbeaten knock, hammered 15 fours and four sixes, while Ghosh hit 12 boundaries.
Their stand not only pulled the Railways out of trouble, but also put them in a good position.
Medium pacer Akash Parkar broke the stand, after he cleaned up Ghosh.
However, Sharma found an able partner in Avinash Yadav (34 off 53 balls; 4x4) as the duo added 85 runs for the seventh wicket.
Yadav played the perfect second fiddle to Sharma, who played one of the best knocks of his career.
Their stand meant that the Railways piled agony on Mumbai, otherwise known to be strong side at their home turf.
After Yadav was dismissed in the 69th over, Sharma was devoid of partners and eventually the Railways innings folded up on 266.
Mumbai pacer Tushar Deshpande (4-44) ran through the Railways lower order.
In Mumbai's second innings, young prodigy Prithvi Shaw, who had failed in the first innings, again was unable to convert his start.
He fell on 23 after slamming four boundaries.
His opening partner Jay Bista too fell on 13 as Mumbai were in a spot of bother at 37-2 and it soon became 45-3 after crisis man Siddesh Lad fell cheaply for 8.
After that test specialist Ajinkya Rahane (3 batting) alongside skipper Suryakumar Yadav (15 batting) held the fort and ensured that there was no further damage.
They will need to bat as long as possible on the third day.
Brief Scores: Mumbai 114 and 64/3 (Prithvi Shaw 23, Suryakumar Yadav 15 batting, Himanshu Sangwan 2-11) versus Railways 266 (Karn Sharma 112 not out, Arindam Ghosh 72; Tushar Deshpande 4-44). Mumbai trailed by 88 runs.
At Rajkot: Saurashtra 331 (Cheteshwar Pujara 57, Sheldon Jackson 57, Saurabh Kumar 4-85, Zeeshan Ansari 3-125) versus Uttar Pradesh 222/3 (Aksh Deep Nath 80 not out, Aryan Juval 52; Jaydev Unadkat 1-40). Uttar Pradesh trailed by 109 runs.
At Indore: Tamil Nadu 149 versus Madhya Pradesh 281/7 (Venkatesh Iyer 88, Rameez Khan 87; Mihir Hirwani 54 not out; T Natarajan 4-96). Madhya Pradesh led by 132 runs.
At Mysuru: Karnataka 166 versus Himachal Pradesh 235/7 (Rishi Dhawan 72 not out, P S Khanduri 69; Koushik V 3-48, Prateek Jain 2-40). Himachal Pradesh led by 69 runs.
Ishant, young Simarjeet blow away Hyderabad
Ishant Sharma bowled a sharp spell to polish off the tail after Simrajeet Singh's four-wicket burst, putting Delhi on cusp of an innings victory against Hyderabad in their Ranji Trophy group A encounter.
After scoring 284 in their first innings, Delhi dismissed Hyderabad for 69 in just 29 overs with Ishant (4/19 in 10 overs) and Simarjeet (4/23 in 10 overs) sharing the spoils on day two.
Left-arm seamer Pawan Suyal (2/25 in 8.4 overs) bowling from a four-step run-up also did his bit. Having enforced follow-on on another curtailed day due to Solar Eclipse, Delhi reduced the visitors to 20 for 2 in their second essay with seam bowling all-rounder Kunwar Bidhuri grabbing both the wickets.
Hyderabad still need to score 185 runs to avoid innings defeat with two days left in the game.
The conditions were conducive for seam bowling as all Delhi pacers needed to do was pitch in the right areas and the lateral movement did the rest.
"My job was to support Ishant bhaiya by bowling tight lines. Initially, he was beating the batsmen but they took less risks against him. Perhaps, they thought they can attack me more and I got those wickets. Ishant bhaiya's brief was simple, pitch the ball in right areas," Simrajeet, who is a product of Madan Lal's academy, told reporters.
Initially, Ishant's was beating the bat at will but not getting the edges. Suyal on the other end drew the first blood breaching opener Akshath Reddy's defence.
Simrajeet then trapped his Reddy's opening partner Tanmay Agarwal leg before and Hyderabad never recovered from the loss.
The Hyderabad players looked intimidated by the pace and bounce generated by Ishant. He didn't go full tilt but a percentage effort, bowling within himself, was enough to scare the batsmen. Some of the lower-order Hyderabad players were retreating towards leg-stump in order to avoid getting hurt by Ishant's deliveries.
"They are not a below-par side just that there was help from the wicket," said Simarjeet, son of a former national level hockey player.
Earlier, Delhi lost their last four wickets for 15 runs after Shikhar Dhawan (140) was the eighth batsmen to be dismissed. Pacer M Ravi KIran took all four wickets in the morning.
In Delhi: Delhi 1st Innings 284 (Shikhar Dhawan 140, M Ravi Kiran 4/60, Mehedy Hassan 3/61). Hyderabad 1st Innings 69 in 29 overs (Ishant Sharma 4/19, Simarjeet Singh 4/23, Simrajeet Singh 2/25) and 20/2 (Kunwar Bidhuri 2/7).
In Surat: Gujarat 127 and 210 (Manprit Juneja 53, Basil Thampi 5/56, Jalaj Saxena 3/54). Kerala 70 and (target 268) 26/0.
In Kolkata: Bengal 1st Innings 289 (Abhishek Raman 112, CV Stephen 4/61, KV Sasikanth 4/78) vs Andhra.
In Nagpur: Vidarbha 196/6 vs Ounjab. No play on 2nd day.
Bengal topple for 289 before bad light halts play
Bengal were bowled out for 289 before bad light halted play on the second day of their Ranji Trophy Group A match against Andhra here on Thursday.
There were three interruptions before Bengal innings folded in 104 overs at 1:35pm. Poor visibility eventually forced the day's proceedings to be called off with Andhra yet to bat in their first innings.
Only 101 minutes of play was possible on the day, during which 21 overs were bowled, as Bengal lost their remaining six wickets in 48 runs after resuming at 241/4.
Left-handed opener Abhishek Raman was dismissed for 112 in the second ball of the day, adding just two runs to his overnight total.
Raman was cleaned up by Stephen and after four overs in the morning the match was held up for 20 minutes.
On resumption at 9.27am, Bengal were unable to get a partnership going as Shahbaz Ahmed became Stephen's fourth victim. The pacer returned figures of 4/78.
Then, due to solar eclipse, the match was again held up for two hours, as Bengal had an extended lunch break stretching till 11.48.
With the light playing hide and seek, Bengal kept losing wickets as their last four wickets could add just nine runs.
"It was difficult to bat today, we were hoping to reach 350 but we lost Raman in the first over of the day and there were frequent interruptions in between. Even we did not get to bowl," Bengal mentor and coach Arun Lal said.
Bengal will not have their pace spearhead Ashok Dinda, who has been suspended for misconduct, but Lal expressed confidence about his bowling attack and said 289 was a par total.
"We are very positive. It's not easy batting there. It requires good technique and concentration. Still I think we are very much in the game if we can get quick wickets. We have to able to play full days," he said.
In Group C, opener Shantanu Mishra remained unbeaten on 54 to help Odisha secure a first innings lead over Uttarakhand.
Resuming on 98/3, Odisha lost Biplab Samantray for 37 after he was trapped by Pradeep Chamoli (2/36) in the third over of the day.
Mishra stayed on even as wickets kept on falling at the other end on a day when only 16.2 overs were possible, helping Odisha go past Uttarakhand's first innings total of 117.
At the Palam A Stadium in New Delhi, medium pacer Manishankar Murasingh returned brilliant figures of 7/63, as Tripura bundled out Services for 173 for a first innings lead of 47 runs.
In Cuttack: Uttarakhand 117. Odisha 145/6; 55.2 overs (Shantanu Mishra 54 batting).
In Jamshedpur: Haryana 285/6; 91 overs (C Bishnoi 75 batting, Ankit Kumar 53, Shivam Chauhan 53, Harshal Patel 47 batting) vs Jharkhand.
In Delhi: Tripura 126 and 16/1; 8 overs. Services 173; 53.3 overs (Arjun Sharma 54; Manisankar Murasingh 7/63).
In Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir 210/2; 52 overs (Shubham Khajuria 87 batting, Suryansh Raina 73) vs Assam.
In Pune: Maharashtra 289; 95.4 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 108, Vishant More 53; Veer Pratap Singh 5/80). Chhattisgarh 131/3; 47 overs (Harpreet Singh 59 batting).
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.