New Delhi: Languishing at the bottom of the table, Orissa batsmen showed stomach for fight as they crawled their way to 294 for five in reply to Railways` first- innings score of 379 in an Elite Group A match of the Ranji Trophy on Thursday.
The stage is set for an interesting final day as Orissa need another 86 runs to get a first-innings lead while the home team will require another five wickets.
Although the wicket is low and slow, Railways haven`t really bowled well save for half an hour into the post-lunch session when the visitors lost four wickets for addition of only three runs at the Karnail Singh Stadium.
From 207 for one, Orissa slumped to 210 for five before Abhilash Mallick (36 batting) and Govinda Poddar (39 batting) added 84 runs in 39.3 overs to steady the ship.
Southpaw Paresh Patel (95, 255 balls, 9x4, 2x6) played a rash shot against left-arm spinner Ashish Yadav to see his leg stump go for a walk. He went across towards off to expose the leg-stump and was back in the pavilion. Yadav also got one to turn and jump to get rid of Biplab Samantray (1) caught by Mahesh Yadav.
It was more due to the low bounce which saw the back of Subhrajit Sahoo (70, 115 balls, 10x4) and Subit Biswal (31) -- both castled by military medium stuff from Sanjay Bangar who has bowled 37 overs so far.
In comparison, Railways` most potent weapon, Krishna Kant Upadhyay, was given only nine overs today and that too in five different spells.
Leggie Karan Sharma was given only eight out of the 129 overs bowled so far, which speaks about the logic of including someone like him. Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik (1/70), who is now four shy of 600 first-class wickets, was bowling with a defensive mindset.
Brief scores: Railways 379.
Orissa 294/5 (Paresh Patel 95, Subhrajit Sahoo 70, Ashish Yadav 2/23, Sanjay Bangar 2/49).