Ranji Trophy final: Saha, Chatterjee bat for life on day four

Debatable limited DRS saves Wriddhiman Saha in first session, Sudip Chatterjee registers 19th first-class fifty to keep Bengal in hunt.

Wriddhiman Saha on way to his half-century in Rajkot on Thursday.   -  Vijay Soneji

The fourth day of the Ranji Trophy final between Saurashtra and Bengal at the SCA stadium in Khandheri had the ingredients of a Western film. Barren lands, national highway, a railway track with trains whistling past every two hours and a Clint Eastwood-like determination by Wriddhiman Saha (64 off 184; 10x4, 6x1) and Sudip Chatterjee (81 off 241; 7x4) in the middle.

Both the batsmen held the bat like guns but did not fire enough bullets as Bengal ended the day at 354 for the loss of six wickets, still 71 runs behind Saurashtra.

READ: Day Four -- As it happened

Chasing 426 to gain lead, Saha and Chatterjee frustrated Saurashtra for 247 minutes. The limited DRS turned out to be the nemesis for the home side. There were four reviews and Saha was in the spotlight in all occasions. Jaydev Unadkat hit his pads twice in the first session but he was denied due to height or perhaps the lack of ball-tracker.

Then, what looked like an inside edge stood nullified as Saha went for a review and survived again. Unadkat stood shocked as the umpire had raised his finger. He was batting on 6.

A few overs later, the Saurashtra skipper smashed his pads again and started celebrating even without appealing. The on-field umpire was unmoved and the case was taken upstairs, again ruled not out.

Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat celebrates the dismissal of Wriddhiman Saha in Rajkot on Thursday.   -  Vijay Soneji

 

Saha did not raise his bat for the fifty. He knew he had a task at hand. Among the boundaries, the dance-down-the-track six off Dharmendrasinh Jadeja injected life into the otherwise dull day. Despite the pressure and close DRS calls, Saha did not lose his cool for a second. Right after the second instance of survival, he hit two fours – through cover and then, extra cover – to set his plan right.

Smart and tactful, Chatterjee did not drag his front foot too ahead against the seam bowlers to negate the lbw chances. He batted for 320 minutes for two days; today, he added just 34 runs in 184 minutes showing steel-like resistance.

READ: The Glenn McGrath role in Chetan Sakariya's upswing

Chatterjee was finally caught at short leg by Vishvaraj Jadeja. Completely distraught, he took time to accept it. Finally, Prerak Mankad cleaned up Saha while he tried to go for a cut shot. He did not have enough room for execution.

Anustup Majumdar (58* off 134; 8x4) and Arnab Nandi (28* off 82; 3x4, 1x6) accelerated in the last session to get Bengal closer to Saurashtra’s total. Bengal scored 90 runs in the last session comprising 25 overs.

For the fourth day in a row, eight overs were lost. Overall, 39 overs have been lost in the match.

Unadkat remained wicketless but Chetan Sakariya had a moment of glory when he ran through Shahbaz Ahmed (16 off 39; 4x2).

Final day's play behind the closed doors

Saha was dropped right before his fifty by Vishvaraj at short leg, while Harvik Desai couldn't control the sudden offering by Majumdar off Jadeja.

At the end of day's play, the Bengal tail-enders headed to the practice wicket to polish their batting.

Bengal will eye a victory on the basis of first-innings lead on day five, with the in-form Majumdar set on the wicket. Saurashtra still has every chance to pull it back, by bowling them under 425.

With the health ministry issuing advisory against public gathering, the final day’s play will be held behind the closed doors. Over to day five.

Brief scores: Bengal 354/6 (S Chatterjee 81, W Saha 64, A Majumdar 58*; P Mankad 2/45, D Jadeja 2/106) trail Saurashtra 425 by 71 runs

  Dugout videos