Young opener Abhishek Raman’s determined maiden century guided Bengal to a healthy 306 for five in the first innings on the opening day of its Ranji Trophy Group D match against Himachal Pradesh at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.
Bengal, inserted in, was in trouble as it lost two wickets for 44 inside 12 overs. Abhimanyu Easwaran (4) was trapped in front and Sudip Chatterjee (15) was played on in about an hour’s time. Playing his fifth first class match, 24-year-old Raman (176 off 242 balls) built two significant partnerships – 92 runs with Koushik Ghosh (27 off 84) and 163 runs with captain Manoj Tiwary (78 batting off 132) – to resurrect Bengal’s innings.
The left-handed duo of Raman and Ghosh took up the responsibility and batted sensibly. Raman applied himself with good technique and sound temperament and provided a sense of security to the home side. Ghosh patiently complemented Raman as Bengal took lunch at 105 for two.
The Himachal bowlers made a lot of effort in the first 45 minutes of the post-lunch session but the gritty home batsmen stuck to their task until Ghosh casually played off-spinner Gurvinder Singh to mid-off.
The arrival of Tiwary calmed Raman's nerves and allowed him to play with more composure. Raman, who had missed a century in the previous match by six runs, reached his first hundred and went on to make it bigger. His knock contained 29 well-struck boundaries all around the park.
Raman was caught in the slips off part-timer Paras Dogra after spending five hours and 49 minutes in the middle.
The experienced Tiwary unleashed some smart and handsome shots in his crucial half-century, studded with eight fours and a six.
With the pitch easing up, Raman and Tiwary had no problem in negotiating the Himachal bowlers, who were wayward, missed the services of a fifth bowler and managed a slow over rate. However, wickets of Raman and Wriddhiman Saha towards the fag end of the day provided some hope to the visitors.
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