Railways still way off track

Looking back on a frustrating day's cricket that saw Mumbai fail to polish off Railways despite bowling their hearts out, skipper Ajit Agarkar suggested that his team, with a number of players returning from Twenty20 action, may have failed to get back into four-day mode.

"All of us who've been in the Champions league haven't had a chance to play a three or four day match," he said. "Never really easy, we came and three days later we had a game."

Railways still trail Mumbai by 190 runs after finishing Day Three on 380 for 8. But after a day of disciplined resistance, they have minimised the host's chances of outright victory.

Much of the credit for this should go to their overnight pair of Sanjay Bangar and Nitin Bhille, who scored 73 and 67 respectively and added 110 for the third wicket.

The duo got past what, at the Wankhede stadium, is often a tricky first hour with movement and nip through the wicket, and slowly inched Railways' score forward. The visitors then lost Bangar, who aimed a half-hearted drive off Abhishek Nayar and only succeeded in spooning it to Iqbal Abdulla at cover. Ramesh Powar then tossed one up to Parag Madkaikar; the batsman strode forward, only to edge to short leg Kaustubh Pawar. In the 176 balls he faced, Bhille never looked hurried and timed his strokes perfectly. He found scoring difficult against the seamers, but used his feet to charge Powar, slamming two fours in one over and generally cashing in whenever the off spinner came on.

Agarkar came round the wicket and pitched one short to Bhille, forcing a thick edge that Kaustubh hung onto at second slip. Mahesh Rawat (68), Murali Kartik (41) and Ashish Yadav (47) chipped in with crucial lower-order runs, further frustrating the Mumbai bowlers. In the end, Zaheer Khan got Rawat caught behind and Iqbal Abdullah sent back Kartik and Yadav, both caught by Tendulkar.

Brief scores: Railways: 380 for eight in 118 overs (N Bhille 73, S Bangar 67, M Rawat 68; A Agarkar 3/43, I Abdulla 2/67) versus Mumbai: 570

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