Ranji Trophy: Railways defiant after Karthik ton for TN

Dinesh Karthik scored 163 off 145 balls to allow Tamil Nadu to set a target of 401 for Railways, on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Group A fixture in Bilaspur. Railways has begun the chase well, reaching 108 for 0 at close of play.

Dinesh Karthik smashed 24 boundaries in his whirlwind knock.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

A cracking century from Dinesh Karthik has put Tamil Nadu in a good position in its Group A fixture against Railways as it allowed the team to set a daunting target of 401 at the Lohnu ground here on Saturday. Railways has begun its chase well, however, as it reached 108 without the fall of a wicket at close on the third day.

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The contest was in control of Tamil Nadu when it made 452 in its second innings.

Tamil Nadu had not begun the day on a positive note when Abhinav Mukund was caught short of his crease while celebrating his century in the first over of the day. Railways was well within the rules, as Mukund did not complete the third run and the wicketkeeper passed the ball to the bowler to effect the run out. The umpires consulted with the match referee before ruling the batsman out.

The manner of dismissal seemed to have spurred Tamil Nadu to put up a solid batting performance.

High quality fare was dished out by Karthik, who reached his century in 82 balls and made 163 off 145 balls before being bowled by leg-spinner Karn Sharma. As he drove and cut confidently, smashing 24 boundaries, Karthik's assurance rubbed on to the rest of the team, as runs flowed like water in the adjacent Sutlej river in the picturesque hilly arena.

Since Railways had taken a 52-run first innings lead, Tamil Nadu did not have much time to set a target that could safely be defended. Yet, the slow batting in the last hour of the innings was bizarre from a team enjoying such a commanding position.

Malolan Rangarajan scored a brisk half-century that was sutdded with six 4s and a six. Aswin Crist scored four of 43 balls.

Railways, in reply, raced through to 100 without loss in 25 overs, hitting 17 boundaries. It has a full day to get 293 runs with all wickets intact.