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February 14, 2002
There are two ways to put up a massive total. One is for a single batsman to rack up the big runs, scoring perhaps a double century or even a triple. The other is for many batsmen to come good at the same time and score significant runs. On Thursday, Railways decided to opt for the second course of action.
Resuming on 129/1 after a rain-interrupted first day, Railways must have realised that there was considerable chance their Ranji semi-final match at Delhi could peter out into a draw, weather-inflicted or otherwise. Accordingly, their batsmen put their best foot forward, with Tejinder Pal Singh dazzling particularly brilliantly.
Bengal got their first success of the day when Laxmi Rattan Shukla dismissed Amit Pagnis for 81, made off 169 balls with eight fours. But Singh and Yere Goud forced the Bengal bowlers to toil for 110 runs more before Singh succumbed, having made exactly 100 off 147 balls with 14 fours.
Goud played as only he can - stolid, disciplined, unhurried. His partnership with Raja Ali for the fourth wicket yielded 131 runs; Raja Ali scored 67 off 145 balls with 10 fours before being stumped.
JP Yadav then joined Goud and gave him good support, adding an unbeaten 30 runs for the fifth wicket. At stumps, Railways were on 445/4, with Goud unbeaten on 93 off 245 balls and Yadav batting on 21 off 27 balls.
The legacy of Bengal's poor bowling will haunt them during the rest of the match, for Railways have achieved an almost unbeatable position in this semi-final and can look forward to applying intense pressure on their opponents when they take the field.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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