February 14, 2002

Railways bat well on rain-interrupted first day

Staff Reporter

On a slushy day, with a wet out-field delaying the start of play until 2 p.m., Railways made the most of their limited batting time to reach a comfortable 129/1 at the end of the day.

The hosts won the toss, but their decision to bat first was delayed until the umpires deemed the out-field fit enough to start play. The pitch was not seriously affected, but the Railways openers played with caution and technique to put on 124 runs for the first wicket.

Sanjay Bangar, fresh from a double century in the quarter-final against Tamil Nadu, batted with a confidence and skill that is sure to draw the attention of the national selectors to himself. Making 48 off 133 balls, with six fours, he was the first wicket to fall; his wicket, the only one of the day for Bengal, went to Sourav Ganguly, who received news of his retention as Indian skipper even as he was marking out his bowling run-up.

Amit Pagnis, the other opener, was unbeaten at the close of play on a fine 60 off 125 balls. He was accompanied by TP Singh on 2. For Bengal, Ganguly was the most used bowler, with skipper Rohan Gavaskar no doubt hoping that the wet conditions would aid his mixture of slow seaming and swinging deliveries.