Ranji Trophy: How Kerala lost the plot to Bengal

Meltdown in batting in both the innings on a pitch which was tailor-made to suit the home side is a worrying factor for Kerala ahead of away games.

Kerala batsman Sanju Samson in action against Bengal in the Ranji Trophy.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

A theme that could be recurring often this season was displayed by Kerala in the Ranji Trophy match against Bengal at the KCA St.Xavier's College ground on Thursday.

Meltdown in batting in both the innings on a pitch which was tailor-made to suit the home side is a worrying factor for Kerala which will now be playing away games.

On a wicket where patience was the key, none of the Kerala batsmen, with the exception of Sanju Samson and senior professional Robin Uthappa, showed that virtue in the match against Bengal.

The pitch was progressively deteriorating and Kerala needed at least another 100 runs than the 48 it had set Bengal in the fourth innings to make a match out of.

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Bengal coach Arun Lal was surprised at the attitude shown by the Kerala batters in the second innings.

“The pitch demanded patience. The odd ball was turning and our seamers bowled well initially. They panicked. You can hit out of trouble and survive a session but you can't bat one-and-a-half days by playing aggressively,” he said.

Kerala coach Dav Whatmore said his players lost the mental battle and warned his players that they will be confronting similar situations again this season.

“We can't win a game in a session, but go a long way to lose it in a session like we did here,'' he said.

But it would be unfair to blame the batsmen alone. The bowlers especially lead spinners Jalaj Saxena and K. Monish were found wanting on a surface which was supposed to help them.

The over dependence on Jalaj took a toll on the bowler and he was largely ineffective. Monish was not fully fit and it effected his bowling.

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S. Midhun impressed on debut but he was handled poorly by captain Baby. He was introduced only in the 48th over of the innings, and that too after Jalaj was hit out of the attack by Manoj Tiwary.

Midhun got a wicket off his second ball. Again on the third day, when the seventh wicket stand between Shahbaz Ahmed and Arnab Nandi was threatening, Midhun was introduced very late and he was the one who got the breakthrough.

There was no effort to put pressure on new batsman Nandi by taking the new ball.

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