Railways' top order came good for once but it all went in vain as their Ranji Trophy Elite Group 'A' match against Karnataka ended in a draw at the Karnail Singh stadium in New Delhi on Saturday.
Having conceded the first innings lead on Friday, the defending champions had the whole day to bat and they did it to perfection until a bizarre declaration three overs into the mandatory overs on the fourth and final day.
As Amit Pagnis (76) and captain Sanjay Bangar (61) added 127 runs for the first wicket on the dead track, it seemed an eternity.
Credit then to young fast bowler Vinay Kumar, five for 65 in the first innings, who produced an express short pitched delivery out of nowhere in the afternoon session to Pagnis, and the diminutive left hander could do nothing but glove it to wicketkeeper Tilak Naidu.
After facing 230 balls, Bangar spooned a simple catch to Sunil Joshi at gully off Stuart Binny.
But as dusk fell and all concerned were confirming their connecting flight and train details, Railways' chose to declare. Six more overs, and the umpires could have called off the match.
It seemed as if the coach was intent on making his wards go through some drills for their inept display, and the players responded by removing Barrington Rowland (4) with Pagnis taking a tumbling catch at square leg.
Karnataka, who suffered a humiliating seven-wicket defeat at home last season, still walked away smiling with two points.
Railways 1st innings: 323
Karnataka 1st innings: 336
Railways 2nd innings:
A Pagnis c Naidu b Vinay Kumar 76
S Bangar c Joshi b Binny 61
Tejinder Pal Singh not out 30
V Saxena not out 10
Extras (b-11, nb-4, w-1) 16
Total (for 2 wickets decl. in 79.2 overs) 193
Fall of wickets: 1-127, 2-178.
Bowling: Vinay Kumar 12-4-26-1, Dodda Ganesh 9-1-38-0, Anil Kumble 10-2-25-0, B Akhil 19-8-31-0, Sunil Joshi 20.2-11-26-0, Sudhindra Shinde 3-0-10-0, Stuart Binny 6-1-26-1.
Karnataka 2nd innings:
B Akhil not out 19
B Rowland c Pagnis b Saxena 4
V Kumar not out 7
Extras (b-1) 1
Total (for one wicket in 10 overs) 31
Fall of wicket: 1-19.
Bowling: Harvinder Singh 4-1-14-0, Santosh Saxena 3-0-12-1, Shankar Rao 3-1-4-0.