Shivakant Shukla missed out on a deserving century for the third time in the season as Railways crawled to gather 204 for five in its first innings in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘A' match against Odisha at the Karnail Singh Stadium here on Tuesday.
Electing to bat on a slow track, the home team recovered from 41 for two to reach a decent position. Mahesh Rawat (38) and Ashish Yadav (1) were holding fort for Railways at the draw of stumps on the opening day.
After the loss of Shreyas Khanolkar (1) in the fourth over and Nitin Bille (19) in the 16th, Shukla (96, 264b, 356m, 12x4, 1x6) and Sanjay Bangar (46, 165b, 194m, 3x4, 1x6) steadied the Railways innings by showing some patience. Despite a disciplined performance from the Odisha bowlers, they put up 107 runs (off 55 overs) for the third wicket.
Shukla, whose knock consisted of 12 fours and a six, played some delightful strokes. However, the left-hander, let off by Odisha wicketkeeper Haladhar Das on 21 off Paresh Patel, was lucky to get a few boundaries through edges to the third-man.
The Shukla-Bangar stand came to an end when medium pacer Biplab Samantray rapped the Railways captain on the pads. In the next ball, Samantray, with his quick-arm action, claimed Prashant Awasthi in an identical fashion.
Shukla, who broke two of his bats while trying to play shots on the slow-paced pitch, was left heart-broken when he was adjudged lbw in the penultimate over of the day.
Railways — 1st innings: Shivakant Shukla lbw b Poddar 96, S. Khanolkar c H. Das b Mangaraj 1, Nitin Bille lbw b Paresh Patel 19, S. Bangar lbw b Samantray 46, P. Awasthi lbw b Samantray 0, M. Rawat (batting) 38, Ashish Yadav (batting) 1, Extras (lb-2, wd-1): 3, Total (for five wkts. in 90 overs): 204.
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-41, 3-148, 4-148, 5-201.
Odisha bowling: Basant Mohanty 17-7-30-0, Alok Mangaraj 16-5-31-1, Biplab Samantray 12-5-32-2, Paresh Patel 14-2-37-1, Jayanta Behera 16-2-37-0, Lagnajit Samal 7-0-25-0, Govinda Poddar 8-3-10-1.
Keywords: Ranji Trophy