Ranji Trophy final: Chatterjee, Tiwary rescue Bengal

After being two down for 35, Manoj Tiwary and Sudip Chatterjee batted for 174 minutes to stage a recovery.

Saurashtra's Chirag Jani celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Manoj Tiwary during the Ranji Trophy final in Rajkot on Wednesday.   -  Vijay Soneji

Abhimanyu Easwaran’s debatable dismissal almost ended Bengal’s hopes on day three of the Ranji Trophy final against Saurashtra at the SCA stadium in Khandheri. The Prerak Mankad delivery seemed to be sliding down leg but the lack of ball-tracker got the better of the batsman.

Abhimanyu (9 off 45; 4x1) hasn’t been in the best of form but the slow wicket perhaps would have suited his style of play.

Day 3, As It Happened

At 35/2, Bengal looked in dire straits in front of Saurashtra’s gargantuan 425. Sudip Chatterjee (47* off 145; 5x4) and Manoj Tiwary (35 off 116; 4x2) stuck to their game plan to end the day at 134/3.

Debutant Sudip Kumar Gharami (26 off 41; 4x4) looked confident with the way he handled Jaydev Unadkat upfront. The wristy flicks fetched him two boundaries against the best bowler of the season in one over. However, he did not last long; Vishvaraj Jadeja caught him off the slow left-arm spin of Jadeja.

Tiwary and Chatterjee set a tent in the middle, leaving all deliveries outside off and blocking the ones on the pads.

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Senior pro Tiwary, who is playing his 100th Ranji game for Bengal, received a gift from Chirag Jani while batting on 18 in the 35th over. He dragged one to his stumps but it ended up being a no-ball. Bengal did not lose any wicket at tea. Jani finally had the last laugh when he trapped Tiwary in front of the stumps but he had batted for almost three hours by then.

The real Test

India wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha, playing the Ranji final for the first time in his career, had a firm resolve. He handled the spin-pace duo of Jadeja and Unadkat smartly. He got off the mark with a boundary off the 14th ball and remained unbeaten on four at stumps. Saha did not score any run in the next 29 balls that he faced.

In fact, in the last nine overs, Bengal scored only 1 run.

Unadkat blitz

In the first session, Saurashtra added 41 runs more to its overnight total of 384/8. Akash Deep cleaned up Jani (14 off 50; 1x4) early but Unadkat and Jadeja continued the run fest.

Unadkat smashed three handsome boundaries, two off Akash Deep who eventually finished with four wickets.

Pujara uncertain

India international Cheteshwar Pujara is uncertain for the remainder of the final. He picked up a back spasm while warming up in the morning and did not take the field. Samarth Vyas fielded in his place. Saurashtra assistant coach Niraj Odedra confirmed that he will bat only if required.


Brief scores: Bengal 134/3 (S Chatterjee 47*, M Tiwary 35; D Jadeja 1/43, P Mankad 1/7); Saurashtra 425 (A Vasavada 106, C Pujara 66; Akash Deep 4/98, S Ahmed 3/103)

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