A stubborn 122-run sixth-wicket stand between Yere Goud and Shreyas Khanolkar saved Railways the blushes as the defending champions managed to reach 237 for eight against Tamil Nadu at the end of the opening day of the four-day Ranji Trophy Elite Group A tie in New Delhi on Thursday.
Electing to bat after Sanjay Bangar won the toss, Railways were rattled by Tamil Nadu pace attack spearheaded by R Jesuraj who reduced the hosts to 42 for five in 17.1 overs.
However, a stout batting display by Yere Goud (71) and Khanolkar (78) snatched the advantage away from the visitors and gave the host's total some respectability.
None of the front ranking batsman could negotiate the bowlers and meekly surrendered their wickets. It was a surprising show of spineless batting by the top half of the team on their own home track.
Much was expeced from the openers Bangar and Amit Pagnis but they struggled for runs and hardly looked confident.
T Kumaran struck the first blow for visitors when he had Bangar caught by wicket keepert Dinesh Karthik before opener could open his account.T he team score at that stage was 12 off 5.3 overs.
Pagnis and T P Singh added one run in 3.1 overs before Jesuraj struck claiming Singh. The batsman who failed to score during his 14-minute stay at the crease, was caught at square leg by Anirudh Srikkanth. Railways lost their third wicket after a space of eight runs when Pagnis was caught at point by Anirudh off Jesuraj. He scored 13 in 88 minutes.
Jesuraj then got rid of J P Yadav (12 in 28m, 2x4) and Naresh trapped Raja Ali leg before (2) to leave Railways reeling at 42 for five.
But from here onwards, the visitors failed to keep up the pressure and against resolute batting by Yere Goud and Khanolkar the bowlers lost their sting.
The two took the score to 85 for five at lunch and then stablised the innings further in the post-lunch session. They showed no sign of nervousness and looked focused while keeping the scoreboard moving.
It was only in the late in the second session that R Naresh was able to break the stand when Khanolkar lost his cool and charged out for a big hit but missed the ball and was stumped. He made 78 (170m, 10x4).
Tamil Nadu had a chance for another quick wicket when the score was 167 for six but Sudhir Wankhade who had not opened his account was dropped by Anirudh in covers off Naresh.
Goud and Wankhede added 29-run for seventh wicket to take the score to 193 before the later was run out.
Tamil Nadu skipper Hemang Badani took the new ball after 81 overs and the move paid off as Jesuraj clean bowled Yere Goud. The batsman contributed valuable 71 runs during his 290-minute stay at the crease. He hit nine boundaries.
The day's play was called off with 3.5 overs still remaining to be bowled due to bad light. At stumps, Harvinder Singh was on 21 and Kulamani Parida on three.
Jesuraj and Naresh took three wickets each, conceding 62 and 52 runs respectively.
Raliways 1st innings
Sanjay Bangar c Karthik b T Kumaran 0
Amit Pagnis c Anirudh b R Naresh 13
T P Singh c Anirudh b R Jesuraj 0
J P Yadav c Naresh b R Jesuraj 12
Raja Ali lbw b R Naresh 2
Yere Goud b R Jesuraj 71
Shreyas Khanolkar st D.Karthik b R Naresh 78
Sudhir Wankhede run out 9
Harvinder Singh batting 21
Kulamani 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
Bowling: R Jesuraj 22.1-4-62-3, T Kumaran 19-5-42-1, R Naresh 19-6-52-3, A Kapoor 13-2-34-0, S Vidyut 13-2-37-0.