| Sanjay Bangar, who hit 79
Mohali: Sanjay Bangar (79) and Jai Prakash Yadav (63) added 123 runs for the third wicket to take Railways to a comfortable 287 for five on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Elite division final against Punjab here Wednesday.
Railways got off to a flying start and were cruising along at 200 for two before they were checked by an inspired spell from Vineet Sharma who took three for 75.
Raja Ali (50 batting) and Shreyas Khanolkar were unbeaten at stumps.
Put into bat, Railways began on a promising note with captain Bangar and Amit Pagnis (40), but lost the latter as well as the wicket of Tejinder Pal Singh (11) in quick succession to be reduced to 77 for 2.
Pagnis fell leg-before to Sharma while Singh was caught by wicketkeeper and stand-in captain Pankaj Dharmani off Reetinder Singh Sodhi.
However, Yadav and Bangar ensured there were no more hiccups as they milked the Punjab attack for over two hours.
Yadav, who survived on 46, departed when he was bowled by Sharma. Bangar followed immediately, holing out to Sandeep Sanwal off the same bowler.
Yere Goud (15) added 56 runs for the fifth wicket with Ali but Navdeep Singh dismissed the former seven overs before close.
Sharma also completed a century of wickets in Ranji Trophy when he took the wicket of Pagnis.
Punjab have gone into the match without three of their key players ' Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Mongia and Harbhajan Singh ' busy on national duty, while Railways would miss the services of left-arm spinner Murali Kartik.
Both teams have met 11 times earlier. Railways have won on two occasions, Punjab once and eight matches have ended in a draw. The two sides had met here last time in 2000-01 in the Ranji Trophy semi-final, when Railways beat Punjab by five wickets.
The hosts have played two finals so far, but won only once in 1992-93 while the visitors have played in three finals having won once in 2001-02.