Unheralded seamer Sanjay Majumder celebrated his comeback by taking four crucial wickets and helping Tripura secure a slender 20-run first innings lead over Kerala in the Ranji Trophy Group C match at the Barabati Stadium here on Wednesday.
Besides Majumder, Tripura captain Manisankar Murasingh also claimed four wickets as Kerala, resuming from 11 for no loss, was all out for 193 in its first innings.
Tripura was at 17 without any damage in its second essay when stumps were drawn on the second day.
For Majumder, playing first class cricket after about two years, it was an opportunity to prove his worth. He played his role to perfection.
After new ball bowlers Rana Datta and Murasingh used the favourable conditions in the first session to scalp Bhavin Thakkar and Rohan Prem respectively, Mohammed Azharuddeen (40) and Jalaj Saxena (18) played resolutely to forge a 50-run stand and steady the boat.
However, Majumder, who was posted in jungles by Tripura State Rifles and could not step on a cricket field for six seasons even after being among the Ranji standbys in 2005, was hungry for success. The rifleman showed his precision on a pitch offering unpredictable bounce and compelled the Kerala batsmen to make mistakes.
Saxena went for a big shot and was caught at mid-off in Majumder's first over. Majumder struck again as Azharuddeen, who executed some brilliant cut shots by placing the ball on the off-side, played across and was adjudged lbw.
The lefty duo of Sachin Baby (29) and Salman Nizar (25) played with purpose for to build a 54-run partnership and frustrate Tripura.
Off-spinner Abhijit Dey, who rarely erred, broke the resistance when Salman left the ball alone and found his stumps disturbed.
Switching end, Majumder banked on the chance to scalp two more. He outwitted Sachin to have him captured at midwicket. Iqbal Abdullah was caught behind.
“I played again due to our former Inspector General Rajiv Singh, who brought me back to Agartala. I made my debut in 2012 and had to prove myself by helping the team do well,” said Majumder, who changed to round-arm action with the passage of time.
Murasingh kept the ball on target and accounted for three tail-enders even as Datta went off the field in the second session due to a hamstring issue. Akshay Chandran's toiling 36 went in vain.
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