A day of regrets for Railways

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Even after recovering from 42 for five to 237 for eight as fading light stopped play, Railways had plenty of regrets on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group `A' match against Tamil Nadu.

The ever-reliable Yere Goud and an in-form Shreyas Khanolkar pulled the proverbial chestnuts out of fire with their 122-run sixth-wicket stand but eventually ended up burning their fingers. Like three of their other teammates, Khanolkar and Goud must have felt like kicking themselves as they walked back to the pavilion. More than missing their well-deserved centuries, the bigger reason for their disappointment was the manner of their dismissals.

Second duck

Earlier, batting by choice, skipper Sunjoy Bangar collected his second successive first-innings duck by failing to read the swing. Fellow-opener Amit Pagnis was guilty of scooping the ball to point. T.P. Singh's ambitious pull was pouched at square leg while J.P. Yadav's similar shot finished at long-leg. Raja Ali followed soon by falling leg-before.

Standing firm amidst the ruins, Khanolkar and Goud produced a fighting partnership that epitomised Railways' never-say-die spirit. Khanolkar followed his last week's timely 82 against Karnataka with a 78 that included 10 hits to the fence.

Khanolkar, better remembered for hitting a century as a makeshift opener against the visiting West Indies team three seasons ago, fell victim to wicketkeeper Dinesh Kaarthick's presence of mind.

After failing twice in his bid to catch Khanolkar out of the crease, Kaarthick succeeded when he stood closer to the stumps off left-arm seamer R. Naresh and hit middle stump after Khanolkar was beaten on the forward stroke.

Sheet anchor

Goud continued with his determined bid and struck nine boundaries as he played the role of the sheet anchor to perfection. However, Goud and Sudhir Wankhede were involved in a mix-up that eventually cost the latter's wicket.

Overall, Tamil Nadu had obvious reasons to be pleased, particularly with the efforts of left-arm seamer Naresh who was duly rewarded with three wickets for his disciplined bowling.

In fact, Naresh could have gained two more if S. Aniruddha had not dropped an offering from Wankhede and Kaarthick not floored a regulation catch of Harvinder Singh. The visiting team could have been in a much better position had it held on to two other slip catches.

The scores:

Railways — 1st innings: S. Bangar c Kaarthick b Kumaran 0, A. Pagnis c Aniruddha b Naresh 13, T.P. Singh c Aniruddha b Jesuraj 0, J.P. Yadav c Naresh b Jesuraj 12, R. Ali lbw b Naresh 2, Y. Goud b Jesuraj 71, S. Khanolkar st. Kaarthick b Naresh 78, S. Wankhede (run out) 9, H. Singh (batting) 21, K. Parida (batting) 3; Extras (b-2, lb-7, nb-11, w-8) 28; Total (for eight wickets in 86.1 overs) 237.

Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-13, 3-21, 4-30, 5-42, 6-164, 7-193, 8-226.

Tamil Nadu bowling: Jesuraj 22.1-4-62-3, Kumaran 19-5-42-1, Naresh 19-6-52-3, Kapoor 9-2-15-0, Vidyut 8-1-23-0.