J P Yadav followed up his masterly knock of 93 runs with a five-wicket haul as Railways skittled out Bengal for 255 in the first innings on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Elite 'A' cricket match in Delhi on Thursday.
The home side, which took a first innings lead of 93 runs, swelled it further, reaching 137 for four in their second innings at stumps at the Karnail Singh stadium.
With six wickets still standing, Railways are 230 runs ahead. Although they are assured of two points, they are hoping to set Bengal a target on the fourth and final day tomorrow in a bid to secure an outright win.
"We will be batting for sometime and give them a target of around 300 runs. With the pitch offering assistance to the bowlers, anything is possible," Railways coach Vinod Sharma said after the day's play.
Railways' bid to effect the declaration today itself did not materialise in the face of some disciplined bowling by the visitors.
Moreover, even though play was extended by half an hour, the scheduled 90 overs could not be completed.
"The nine overs that could not be bowled could have helped us pile some more runs. Also Bengal bowled a very good line on the track on which scoring is difficult," Sharma said.
At close, opener Amit Pagnis was unbeaten on 62 and Raja Ali on 11.
Earlier, all-rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla was stranded on 90 as Bengal, resuming at 153 for four, were all out for 255 in 102 overs.
Skipper Rohan Gavaskar fell in the second over of the day without adding anything to his overnight score of 24.
Gavaskar was bowled by medium pacer Santosh Saxena (three for 32).
Sanjeev Sanyal made just four and was castled by captain Sanjay Bangar. Yadav then wrecked the lower order to return with impressive figures of 5-37 in 27 overs.
The lower order contributed too little to Bengal's cause and barring Sourashish Lahiri (10), none of the last five batsmen could reach double figures.
Murtaza Lodhgar scored nine and both Sabir Ali and Ranadeb Bose failed to open their account.
Railways had a shaky start as Bangar, as in the first innings, was dismissed cheaply by Sabir Ali. The opener faced 20 balls for his two runs before edging to wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta when the team's score was seven.
Tejinder Pal Singh scored an attractive 45, studded with five fours, and steadied the innings with a 90-run stand with Pagnis.
When Devang Gandhi ran Tejinder Pal out, Railways lost a couple of more wickets in quick succession to slump from 97 for one to 122 for four.
Yadav (5) missed the line completely to be bowled by Sanyal for five and Siddharth Verma (0) mistimed a sweep shot to be caught by Nikhil Haldipur off Lodhgar.
Railways (1st innings): 348
Bengal (1st innings):
A Das c Harvinder b Yadav 8
N Haldipur lbw b Yadav 30
D Gandhi c Wankhede b Saxena 18
D Dasagupta lbw b Saxena 32
R Gavaskar b Saxena 24
L R Shukla not out 90
S Sanyal b Bangar 4
S Lahiri c Parida b Yadav 10
M Lodhgar lbw b Harvinder 9
S Ali b Yadav 0
R D Bose c Wankhede b Yadav 0
Extras: (b-6, lb-9, nb-13, w-2) 30
Total: (all out, 102 overs) 255
Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-56, 3-100, 4-113, 5-155, 6-163, 7-219, 8-254, 9-255.
Bowling: Harvinder 21-4-73-1, Yadav 27-7-37-5, Saxena 18-3-62-3, Bangar 21-5-39-1, Parida 11-2-25-0, Pagnis 4-1-4-0.
Railways (2nd innings):
A Pagnis batting 62
S Bangar c Haldipur b Ali 2
T P Singh run out 45
J P Yadav b Sanyal 5
S Verma c Haldipur b Murtaza 0
Raja Ali batting 11
Extras: (b-4, lb-1, w-2, nb-5) 12
Total: (for 4 wkts, 41.1 overs) 137
Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-97, 3-121, 4-122
Bowling: Ali 8-1-26-1, Bose 10-2-36-0, Lahiri 11-2-39-0, Sanyal 10.1-1-30-1, Lodhgar 2-1-1-1.