It was neither the ball nor bat or, for that matter, the pitch that dominated Thursday's proceedings at the Karnail Singh Stadium.
It was the lack of application of the Railways and Saurashtra batsmen that stood out. At stumps on the second day of their Ranji Trophy match, Railways were 97 for six in their second innings, and are hoping for a miracle as they chase 247.
Railways could add just 10 more to their overnight score before being bowled out for 81 in the first innings.Till now, it was the pitch that was being blamed, which is the case to an extent. But the way Chirag Pathak, Sheldon Jackson and Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Shah got out in the first 18 overs, the dismissals did not point to the pitch. Pathak and Jackson failed to judge the line of the ball and were out, leg before and bowled respectively.
Middle-order batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara, who was bowled at the stroke of lunch, played patiently for his 32. After the break, Ravindra Jadeja too played well for his 45, and the highlight of his cameo was the ability to play the ball late. It showed that though the pitch was difficult to bat on, it wasn't a minefield.Apart from these two, it was a procession as the visitors folded up for 152. Ashish Yadav, Krishnakant Upadhyay, Arlen Konwar and Nileshkumar Chauhan picked up two wickets each. Worse was to follow as the Railways batsmen, driven by the notion that the pitch had demons in it, lost six wickets for just 52 runs.
However, left-handed batsmen Marripuri Suresh and Ashish Yadav added 45 runs to show that patience pays off. Of the six Railways batsmen who got out, five were scalped by off-spinner Kamlesh Makwana. Jadeja got one.Brief scores: Sau 175 & 152 v Rlys 81 & 97/6 (Makwana 5-30)