Anustup ‘Reliable’ Majumdar scored a magnificent unbeaten century to bail Bengal out of deep trouble and enable it to post a good total on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Group-A match against Himachal Pradesh at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday.
Asked to bat, Bengal recovered from a precarious 44 for five, thanks to Anustup’s fighting knock, and finished the day at 310 for nine.
In conducive conditions for the faster bowlers, Himachal reaped the benefits of bowling first as Sidharth Sharma scalped the first three Bengal wickets.
Captain Rishi Dhawan claimed Sudip Gharami and KD Singh dismissed stand-in captain Manoj Tiwary cheaply as half of the Bengal side returned to the pavilion inside 18 overs.
However, Anustup (159 n.o., 205b, 21x4, 2x6), who batted with patience, and another dependable hand, Shahbaz Ahmed (49, 97b, 5x4), joined hands to steady the innings.
As conditions improved for batting with the progress of the day, the duo forged a 110-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
After Shahbaz became Sidharth’s fourth victim, Anustup remained undeterred and stood for stands worth 34, 65 and (unbroken) 50 runs with Abishek Porel, Akash Deep and Ishan Porel respectively to frustrate the Himachal bowlers.
The 38-year-old Anustup, who predominantly played the big shots on the off-side and rotated the strike well, surpassed his previous best score of 157.
Siddharth, who got some purchase from the surface, achieved his first five-for by removing debutant Ravi Kant Singh.
“I am happy to deliver for my team. But the job isn’t done yet. We need to add as much as possible tomorrow morning and that will be crucial. Shahbaz and Akash Deep played well and supported me superbly,” said Anustup on his 11th first class hundred.
Bengal – 1st innings
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