New Delhi: Opener Shivakant Shukla missed three-figure mark by only four runs but his painfully slow batting alongside skipper Sanjay Bangar saw Railways crawl to 204 for five against Orissa, on the first day in a Ranji Trophy Elite Group match at Karnail Singh Stadium.

Having scored 94 runs in 34 overs during the first session, the home team suddenly went into a shell scoring only 110 runs in the next 56 overs.

Shivakant who had scored 98 in the previous match against UP, scored his half-century in the pre-lunch session but could barely get going in the second and third sessions.

He was out in the penultimate over of the day adjudged leg before to offie Govind Poddar. The decision was a debatable one as the ball seemed like travelling over the stumps. The southpaw scored 96 from 264 balls with the help of 12 boundaries and a six.

Shivakant and skipper Bangar (46, 165 balls, 3x4, 1x6) added 107 runs for the third wicket after seamer Alok Mangaraj and No. 3 batsman Nitin Bhille were dismissed in the first hour.

Shivakant played some good shots square of the wicket while Bangar showed a bit of intent in the first session when he tried to use his feet against the spinners.

The Orissa bowlers bowled with a lot more discipline in the second session. Medium pacer Basant Mohanty came from round the wicket to cramp the batsmen for room. The fielding side also spread the field in order to stop the boundaries.

It was medium pacer Biplab Samantray who found Bangar's pads and removed Prashanth Awasthi of the very next delivery.

Suddenly from 148 for two, Railways slumped to 148 for four but Mahesh Rawat's positive approach helped the home team get some quick runs. Rawat hit six boundaries during his unbeaten knock of 38 and is batting in company of Ashish Yadav.

Brief scores:

Railways: 204/5 (Shivakant Shukla 96, Sanjay Bangar 46, Mahesh Rawat 38 batting, Biplab Samantray 2/32) vs Orissa.

Punjab make strong start against Karnataka

Half centuries by Sarul Kanwar (89), Karan Goel (71) and Mayank Sidhana (batting 61) helped Punjab reach 278 for four and steal the honours on Day One of their Elite Group Ranji Trophy match against Karnataka on Tuesday.

Opting to bat, Punjab, who are seeking to augment their position to notch a berth in the quarterfinals, lost a well-set Goel just before draw of stumps at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.

Punjab were served well by Kanwar and Ravi Inder Singh (24) who raised 101 runs for the first wicket. Kanwar and Inder Singh had applied themselves to the task before the latter was run out.

Karnataka, who have virtually qualified for the quarterfinals with 20 points before this game, were lucky to rid Kanwar from the crease when he was bowled by off-spinner Sunil Raju.

The premature fall of Uday Kaul, who was caught behind by CM Gautam off NC Aiyappa, raised Karnataka's hopes of running through the rest of the Punjab batting.

But Goel and Mayank Sidhana put paid to the six-time champions' hope with an enterprising 107-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

Goel's stubborn 71 was laced with ten boundaries.

Brief scores:

Punjab 1st innings:
278/4 in 91 overs (Sarul Kanwar 89, Goel 71, Mayank Sidhana 61 not out).