A good start is half the job done. And Delhi achieved that on the opening day of their Ranji trophy super league match against Railways at the Roshanara club ground on Wednesday as they bowled out Railways for 259 and then made a solid start in reply.
Opener Shreyas Khanolkar provided the positive during an otherwise bad day for Railways by stroking a century on his comeback after three and a half seasons having played in the BCCI's rival Twenty20 league —ICL.
The day began on a disappointing note for Delhi too. The hero with the ball Pawan Suyal and another one with the willow — skipper Mithun Manhas-- were both ruled out of the game due to injuries.
Shikhar Dhawan, who led the side, won the toss and opted to field on a bowler friendly track. Gaurav Chabra, Rajat Bhatia and Kapil Yadav all made comebacks. Kapil Yadav struck early when he dismissed Faiz Fazal in the fourth over of the morning. Khanolkar carried on patiently at the other end but none of the other batsmen stayed long enough and supported Khanolkar.
Delhi bowlers bowled in the right areas to put the opposition on the mat in the first session itself. Sangwan struck twice in the 19th over. First he bowled opposition captain Sanjay Bangar and then got Rakesh Mishra to edge to the slips. Vikas Mishra then bowled Harshad Rawale to leave Railways tottering at 81 for 4 at lunch.
Even as Khanolkar kept the scoreboard moving, Sumit Narwal rattled the stumps of Mahesh Rawat for 18 after lunch and then got the experienced JP Yadav caught behind. Dhiren Salvi added 66 runs with Khanolkar for the sixth wicket but he too failed to convert the start.
Khanolkar completed his century but was run out for 102 following a mix up with Murali Kartik. His knock included 19 boundaries.
"It was important for me to score runs as the team needed it and I was also making a comeback almost four years, after playing in ICL," Khanolkar said. "It was a difficult wicket to bat in the first session but it eased later in the day."
Kartik and Amit Mishra added 40 runs but soon cleaned up the tail as Railways were bowled out for 259.
With just eight overs left in the day, Delhi openers Shikhar Dhawan and Unmukt Chand began on a positive note to take Delhi to 48 without loss at stumps. Dhawan is batting on 26 while Unmukt is on 17.