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Ishant three-for troubles Assam on opening day

Suresh Raina fields with the pink ball AFP

Assam 224 for 7 (Purkayastha 57*, Gokul 51, Ishant 3-31) v Delhi

Half-centuries from Gokul Sharma and Swarupam Purkayastha helped Assam counter intermittent dismissals and post 224 for 7 against Delhi, even in the face of a three-wicket haul by newly-appointed captain Ishant Sharma.

Having been sent in to bat, all of Assam's top three batsmen got starts, but failed to cross the 20-run mark. While the opening stand amounted to 33 runs, Assam had lost half their side for 115 in the 51st over. The major part of the innings, thereafter, was steadied by the two fifty-plus partnerships for the sixth and seventh wickets, with Purkayastha's unbeaten 57 being the fulcrum in both instances, aiding his captain Gokul's 172-ball 51 and No. 8 batsman Abu Nechim's 27-run knock.

Ishant, who has been entrusted with the leadership of the side for the first time, used seven bowlers for the 88.2 overs sent down on the first day, with all of them, barring Manan Sharma and Milind Kumar, taking at least one wicket. Ishant himself accounted for Sibsankar Roy (11), Tarjinder Singh (16) and Nechim, while Kulwant Khejroliya bowled Gokul on his first-class debut.

Uttar Pradesh 9 for 0 (Chaudhary 2*, Asnora 7*) trail Railways 182 (Ashish Yadav 53*, Nitin Bhille 42, Rajpoot 3-30, Ansari 3-78) by 173 runs

Last season's bottom-ranked team from Group A, Railways, stuttered early in their opening innings of the Ranji Trophy this year after their decision to bat backfired, with the side capitulating for 182 runs in 76 overs. Orchestrating their undoing were Uttar Pradesh's Ankit Rajpoot and Zeeshan Ansari, who bagged three wickets apiece, while the captain Suresh Raina abetted the duo's efforts with two wickets for himself.

Barring a 53-run third-wicket stand between Nitin Bhille (42) and Arindam Ghosh (27), Railways failed to gather momentum through their innings, with part-time spinner Raina dealing the first blow, in the 14th over, trapping opener Shivakant Shukla for 5. Making his first-class debut, legspinner Ansari sniped out the lower order, claiming Vidhyadhar Kamath, Avinash Yadav and Deepak Bansal for single-digit scores. The first dismissal effected by him, though, came in the form of a run-out that sent back opener Saurabh Wakaskar for 25.

Ansari's fellow first-class debutant Kartik Tyagi, too, added a wicket to his tally, trapping Ghosh in front. Upon reaching 100, Rajpoot's dismissal of Railways captain Mahesh Rawat triggered a collapse, during which he claimed all of his three leg-before victims in quick succession.

Having come in at No. 7, with only 102 runs on the board, Ashish Yadav then top-scored for Railways with an unbeaten 85-ball 53, hitting six fours en route to his half-century. His attempts at resuscitating the innings found little support, save a 47-ball 15 by Anureet Singh, with whom he strung a 33-run stand for the ninth-wicket.

In reply, UP openers Shivam Chaudhary and Himanshu Asnora played out nine overs, accumulating as many runs, without losing any wicket.

Rain washed away the first day's play between Hyderabad and Maharashtra at Gymkhana Ground, in Hyderabad.