New Delhi: Nitin Bhille hit an unbeaten 102 while opener Saurabh Wakaskar (62) and Arindam Ghosh (61 not out) struck fine half-centuries to help Railways end Day 1 at a comfortable 249 for two against Madhya Pradesh in a Group A Ranji Trophy cricket match, here on Monday.
Opting to bat after winning the toss, Wakaskar and Shivakant Shukla (17) got Railways off to a decent start, adding 50 runs for the opening stand.
After Shukla's dismissal, Wakaskar and Bhille shared 67 runs for the second wicket to take Railways forward.
But Wakaskar was the next to depart when fell LBW to Ankit Sharma. He faced 116 runs and struck seven boundaries in the process.
Thereafter, Bhille and Ghosh ensured no further damage to Railways, stitching unconquered 132 runs for the third wicket to take their team to a comfortable position at stumps on the opening day of the four-day match.
Bhille's knock came off 207 balls with the help of 11 boundaries and one six, while Ghosh struck five fours during his 162-ball stay at the crease.
For Madhya Pradesh, Saransh Jain (1/40) and Ankit Sharma (1/75) were the wicket takers.l
Railways: 249 for two in 90 overs (Nitin Bhille 102 not out, Saurabh Wakaskar 62, Arindam Ghosh 61 not out; Saransh Jain 1/40).
In Hubballi, Gujarat rode on opener Priyank Kirit Panchal's unbeaten century to post an impressive 246/3 in their match against Mumbai.
Panchal struck 122 off 256 balls and found the fence 17 times during his knock after Gujarat opted to bat at KSCA Rajnagar Stadium.
Skipper Parthiv Patel failed to impress, getting dismissed for 12.
Panchal's opening partner Samit Gohel made 87 off 207 deliveries, and the two added 172 runs to lay the foundation for a big total.
Gohel struck 11 boundaries and two sixes, before getting out 13 runs short of a century.
At the close of play on the first day, Manpreet Juneja (22) was giving Panchal company.
Vishal Dabholkar (2/61) was the most successful bowler for Mumbai, while there was a wicket for Aditya Dhumal, as Gujarat took the honours against their fancied opponents on the opening day.
Mumbai's star seam bowlers Dhawal Kulkarni and Shardul Thakur went wicketless.
In another match, Punjab were 241/6 on the first day of their Group A match against Tamil Nadu.
At stumps, Gitansh Khera and Sandeep Sharma were batting on 22 and 4 respectively.
Opener Manan Vohra top-scored for Punjab with a knock of 73 off 111 balls, while the experienced Uday Kaul contributed 56 off 162 balls.
Vohra struck 12 boundaries, while Kaul found the fence five times.
After Punjab elected to bat, they were given a solid start by Vohra and Jiwanjot Singh (30), who put on 97 runs for the first wicket.
However, Punjab lost the openers in quick succession, and it was then left to Kaul to hold the innings together at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground.
Middle-order batsman Mandeep Singh failed to open his account, skipper Gurkeerat Singh got out after making 27, while Mayank Sidhana was dismissed for 18.
For Tamil Nadu, Krishnamoorthy Vignesh was the most successful bowler with figures of 3/89.
The inability of second rung of domestic batsmen to cope with movement on a green top came to the fore once again as the Ranji Trophy encounter between Bengal and Baroda saw as many 23 wickets falling on first day.
After Bengal skittled out Baroda for a meagre 97 riding on Ashoke Dinda's 6 for 45, little did they know what awaited them in second session.
Young seamer Atit Seth (7/36) wreaked havoc as he blew away the Bengal top order who found swing and seam movement difficult to handle being bundled out for 76.
Such was the abysmal performance of Bengal batsmen that only Sudip Chatterjee (37) managed a respectable score with only Sayan Sekhar Mondal (13) being the other batsman to reach double figures. Nine other Bengal players managed only 26 runs between them.
With a slender lead of 21 runs, Baroda showed attacking intent in second innings reaching 63 for 3 with an overall lead of 84 runs.
The first innings lead is inconsequential in this match as there will certainly be an outright result but Baroda have their nose ahead.
In the morning, Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary won a good toss and rightly opted to bowl. Dinda brushed aside off field controversies to grab his 21st five-wicket haul in first class cricket.
He was ably supported by Mukesh Kumar (3/39) and Amit Kuila (1/12). Most of the dismissals were either behind the stumps in slip cordon or let before when the ball moved off the pitch. Aditya Waghmode was top scorer for Baroda with 17.
The ineptness was evident when Deepak Hooda who scored 293 at Kotla against Punjab didn't have the technique to cope with swinging deliveries of Kumar, who got the ball to cut both ways.
Dinda as usual hit the deck hard and got sufficient inward movement. However a thick layer of grass must have intimidated the Bengal youngsters as two first class match old Atit made them look like novices.
Only Sudip showed some composure playing 62 balls but likes Abhimanyu Easwaran was beaten by movement, so was skipper Tiwary, whose poor footwork during initial part saw him edge one to Pinal Shah behind stumps.
The extra grass layer meant appreciable movement off the pitch which Bengal players didn't have the wherewithal to cope. A lead of 180 plus will certainly put Bengal in trouble if pitch doesn't wear out.