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Bangar, Shukla show Railways how it’s done

Vinayak Padmadeo

Posted: Nov 20, 2011 at 0018 hrs IST

New Delhi: Sanjay Bangar was a relieved man as Railways pulled off a miracle of sorts. On Saturday, for the first time in seven innings that they have batted in this season, Bangar’s team wasn’t on the verge of losing (or sometimes having lost) the game by sunset on Day 3. Chasing 521 for their first innings lead at the Karnail Singh Stadium, Railways survived three sessions as they went to stumps at 276/4. Yere Goud (35) and Mahesh Rawat (26) were at the crease when bad light stopped play.

But at the same time, it isn’t all sunny in the Railways camp either. The hosts still need 235 runs to go past Rajasthan’s total. Failure to complete the innings would mean that both teams would go home without any point.

However, one thing is sure: Goud’s tactics aren’t doing his team any favours. In the last 51 minutes of play, the veteran scored a total of one run, even keeper Rawat collected 26, including five boundaries in their unbroken stand of 28. The decision by the Rajasthan bowlers, especially left-arm orthodox Gajendra Singh, who resorted to bowling a negative line also explains Goud’s lack of enthusiasm. Yet, Bangar was understandably delighted at the end of the day’s play, even going as far as claiming that the darkness had passed.

“It was bound to happen,” said Bangar. “Shreyas and Shivakant gave us a good start with their second wicket stand — they set the tone for us. Yere is still there and the pitch is playing okay, except when their left-arm spinner bowls from over the wickets. Anything can happen.”

Earlier, Shivakant Shukla and skipper Bangar made half-centuries to ease the pressure off the worried dressing room. Although Bangar (79) and Shukla (87) fell on either side of the tea break, the smiles remained a constant in the Railways camp for obvious reasons. They had lived to fight a final day.

Brief scores: Rajasthan 521/8 decl; Railways 276/4 (S Shukla 87, S Bangar 79, Y Goud batting 35, M Rawat batting 26; V Yadav 3/64)

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