New Delhi: Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik grabbed five wickets to help Railways reduce Assam to 160 for nine and give his side a chance for victory in an absorbing Group A Ranji Trophy Super League match, on the penultimate day.
Kartik (5/66) ran through the opposition top order and Assam were 67 for five at one stage before captain Amol Muzumdar played a defiant unbeaten knock of 73 that came off 222 balls.
Left-arm spinner Prakash Bhagat, who made his first class debut today, was giving Muzumdar company on one when stumps were drawn for the day at the Karnail Singh Stadium.
Kartik first ran out Assam opener Pravez Aziz (7) with the scoreboard reading 11 for one in the fifth over and then scalped two more wickets -- that of other opener Dheeraj Jadhav (6) and one-down Sridharan Sriram (8).
At 31 for three, Assam were in trouble and though Muzumdar was holding one end together his colleagues failed to put up a fight.
Jai Prakash Yadav then removed Deepak Sharma for six before Kartik came back again to dismiss Tarjinder Singh (8) as half of the Assam side were back at the pavilion for 67.
From there, Assam never recovered as they could not form any substantive partnership, the biggest being the 33 for the sixth wicket between Muzumdar and Kunal Saikia (25).
Assam have now taken an overall 165-run lead with just one second innings wicket in hand.
Railways would fancy for a win by quickly breaking the last wicket pair of Assam tomorrow. If Railways failed to do so and the match ends in a draw, Assam will run away with three points on the basis of their five runs first innings lead.
Earlier in the morning, Railways resumed their first innings at 164 for eight but their last two wickets fell quickly as they were all out for 182 to fall short of Assam`s first innings total of 187.
Kulamani Parida (4) was out in the third over of the morning to Dhiraj Goswami, who completed his five-wicket haul, before Ranjit Kumar Mali ended the resistance of tailender Jai Prakash Yadav (37).