Punjab, 'damp' pitch derail Railways

New Delhi, December 22

The Karnail Singh Stadium was bustling with activity. The ground staff was busy preparing the pitch as the two umpires, Rajiv Godara and K Madanagopal, looked on keenly. Meanwhile, the Punjab and Railways teams were keeping themselves busy with warm-up routines and fielding drills.

Jamp;K hammered, HP staring at defeat

Kolkata: Sudip Gharami struck a fine hundred to put Bengal on the cusp of a big win against Himachal Pradesh. Gharami made 101 off 66 balls as Bengal declared their second innings at 291/5. Himachal Pradesh, who were bowled out for 130 in their first innings, were 79/1 at stumps on Day 3 needing another 393 runs for an improbable win. Prashant Chopra was batting on 44 and Ankit Kalsi on 17. Meanwhile, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat rode on left-arm spinner Siddharth Desai's 14-wicket match haul to thrash Jammu and Kashmir by nine wickets. PTI

Brief scores: Railways 59/5 in 32 overs (Vivek 17; Kaul 3/19) vs Punjab; Bengal 310 amp; 291/5 decl (Gharami 101) vs Himachal Pradesh 130 amp; 79/1 (Chopra 44*); Baroda 615 vs Haryana 278 amp; 148/2 (Ankit 55, Yuvraj 54*); Gujarat 307 amp; 11/1 vs Jammu and Kashmir 135 amp; 182 (Nazir 43; Desai 8/66)

At 11:30am, the match had not started as planned. The reason was simple: the new pitch, which was selected to replay the Elite Group D encounter, was damp. However, since the match officials — including the two umpires and the match referee, Youraj Singh — had committed to restarting the match on the fresh pitch after

the earlier one was deemed dangerous, the play began at 2 pm.

And very early in the match, it was clear that the pitch was not that different. Railways' opener Rahul Rawat got hit on the helmet in the day's second over. In fact, in the first four overs, Rawat was hit on the elbow, inner thigh and helmet. The Railways team then approached the match referee to stop the play, but the request was denied as it was left on the on-field umpires to take a call.

Countless deliveries from both Siddarth Kaul and Gurnoor Brar jumped from length, while a few scooted by at calf level. By the end of play, after only 32 overs were bowled, Railways were tottering at 59/5 with the opening-wicket partnership between Rawat and Vivek Singh contributing 34 runs.

'Unfair call'

"We approached the match referee to intervene when Rawat was hit in the first few overs but he did not budge," said a source in the Railways team.

"We all knew that the pitch was damp and the bounce was uneven. We could have played tomorrow but now we were forced to play on a damp wicket. I suspect if Punjab batted first and someone was hit then play would definitely have been stopped," he added.

Courtesy: Tribune India

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