Ranji Trophy semifinals, Day One: Anustup Majumdar hits ton, revives Bengal

Bengal ended the day on 275 for 9 at the Eden Gardens; Sheldon Jackson starred for Saurashtra in Rajkot.

Abhimanyu Mithun and Karnataka's other seamers scythed through Bengal's top order. - PTI

Welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the first day of the two semifinal contests.

 

STUMPS

In Rajkot: Saurashtra 217 for 5 (Jackson 69 n.o.) vs Gujarat.

In Kolkata: Bengal 275 for 9 (Majumdar 120 n.o.) vs Karnataka.

 

UPDATES

The two semifinals had contrasting starts, and a gradually changed scenario as the day wore on. Saurashtra began its innings well in the morning, but lost wickets in the afternoon and evening on a pitch that wasn't a minefield; Sheldon Jackson played a responsible knock and steadied the ship. Bengal, on the other hand, started disastrously as Karnataka's seamers made good use of the helpful conditions in the morning, before Anustup Majumdar rallied with the tail to provide some respite.

That's it, from our side, for the day. Our correspondents will have their reports and analyses soon. We'll be back again, at 9.30 am, for Day Two. Until then, it's goodbye.

Bengal vs Karnataka | And it's stumps, at Eden Gardens as well. Just 82 overs bowled in the day. Majumdar stays unbeaten on 120.

If Bengal is still afloat in this contest, it is mainly due to him. Compact in defence, patient in approach, and fluid in his strokeplay, he held the innings together for his side.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | It's stumps, in Rajkot. Sheldon Jackson has played an assured knock to keep Saurashtra afloat, at least from one end. In what seems a placid track, the team management would still feel the total at the end of the day — 217 —  is below par for five wickets to have fallen.

The partnership with Jackson and Chirag Jani is 55 runs.

Bengal vs Karnataka | But at the other end, Mukesh Kumar is dismissed. He attempts a drive off Prasidh and gets a thick edge through to the wicketkeeper. Majumdar, from the non-strikers' end, grimaces.

Bengal vs Karnataka | With a pull to leg off Abhimanyu Mithun, he gets there. It's a boundary. He holds his arms aloft, reaches the other end and then takes his helmet off to soak in the applause. Spectators and team-mates in the dressing room cheer for him.

He's given a pat of appreciation by Mithun, the bowler, and Gowtham.

 

Bengal vs Karnataka | The 250 is up for Bengal, and school kids gathered to watch their team in action stand up and clap in glee. It's been a very good recovery for Bengal after having been reduced to 67 for 6 after lunch.

Majumdar is taking his own sweet time to reach his century; he is in no hurry, content in pushing and nudging the ball for singles.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | A flick through the on side for four off Chintan Gaja by Sheldon Jackson brings up the 200 for Saurashtra. It's taken the side a long time to get there; the innings run-rate is 2.34.

Bengal vs Karnataka | But Karnataka has the breakthrough. Akash Deep goes down on his knee for a slog-sweep to oblivion, but misses the ball. The ball, turning sharply, strikes him on the left knee-roll on middle-stump. But could it be thought to be turning past the stumps? The umpire doesn't think so and gives it out. Upon review, the decision stands. It was a close call, but could have gone either way.

Akash Deep falls for 44. Bengal eight down for 242. The new batsman is Mukesh Kumar.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Appeal for an lbw dismissal. Karun Nair was the bowler; he bowled full and straight, the line a touch outside off stump, and Majumdar, with a forward stride, is struck on the pads. Karnataka opts for a review after the not-out verdict by the on-field umpire, and it goes in vain. The ball struck Majumdar outside the line of the off-stump; since he was playing a shot, the ball's trajectory beyond it needn't be considered.

Sheldon Jackson played some delightful strokes through the off side. - VIJAY SONEJI

 

Bengal vs Karnataka | The 100 partnership is up for the eighth-wicket pair of Majumdar and Akash Deep. Akash Deep needs six more runs to get to a half-century, while Majumdar is batting on 93.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | A single off a full delivery from off-spinner Rujul Bhatt to long-on gets Sheldon Jackson to a half-century — his 28th in first-class cricket. It's been a responsible knock from the middle-order batsman. Saurashtra 183 for 5 after 80 overs.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Some smiles in the Bengal dressing room as Akash Deep goes down the track and lofts K. Gowtham for a six to long-on. The bottom hand came off the bat as he executed the stroke, but the ball had enough legs to go all the way. The boundary isn't too far for the batsman at Eden Gardens.

Majumdar grins to his partner after that stroke; he clearly enjoyed it.

Bengal vs Karnataka | 200 up for Bengal, in the 62nd over. Akash Deep isn't hanging around for nothing; he's hit two fours and two sixes in his 38-ball 28 so far.

And Anustup Majumdar has moved to 80 (125b, 14x4).

A view of the action from Rajkot. Gujarat's tail is up after Nagwaswalla's twin strike after tea. - SHAYAN ACHARYA

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | And one more for Nagwaswalla. Arpit Vasavada falls for a golden duck, steering a delivery outside the off-stump to second slip. Nagwaswalla has three now, and Gujarat's tail is up. Saurashtra five down, all eyes on Sheldon Jackson.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Wicket for Nagwaswalla in the third over after tea. The left-arm seamer doesn't get any conspicuous movement in the air or off the surface, but gets the edge. Jadeja was probably done in by the angle of the delivery; from over the wicket, it went across the batsman. He attempted to steer this delivery to third man, but only got the edge through to Parthiv Patel, who appealed enthusiastically. Jadeja scored 26 (59b, 2x4). Saurashtra 162 for 4.

 

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | It's tea, in Rajkot, too. Seventy one runs were scored in this session, for the loss of two wickets. On what appears a placid surface, those two wickets were a bonus for Gujarat, come as they did via the batsmen's own errors rather than some unplayable deliveries.

The partnership between Jackson and Jadeja is now 58. Jackson is batting on 32 (62b, 4x4, 2x6) and Jadeja on 26 (52b, 2x4).

The score: 160 for 3, after 66 overs bowled.

Bengal vs Karnataka | It's tea, at Eden Gardens. As in Cuttack earlier in the month, Majumdar has resurrected Bengal's faltering innings, after it had been reduced to 66 for 5 at lunch and soon after, 67 for 7.

Shahbaz gave him good company, hitting a few boundaries in his short stay at the crease.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Meanwhile, in Rajkot, the partnership between Vishvarajsinh Jadeja and Sheldon Jackson is blossoming. They've added 44 runs so far, the batsmen having hit two fours each. Jackson also has two sixes. It's 146 for 3 after 62 overs.

Manoj Tiwary didn't last long, he was dismissed for 8. - PTI

 

Bengal vs Karnataka | An appeal for caught behind is turned down. More's delivery outside the off stump moved away off the seam just when the ball was close to the bat. The DRS is taken, but Majumdar survives. After 55 overs, it's 163 for 7.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Akash Deep lines up for a big hit; he comes down the track for it and deposits the ball beyond the long-on boundary. Gowtham is the bowler. He goes for 11 in his 18th over.

Bengal vs Karnataka | it's 150 up for Bengal, in the 53rd over of the innings. Majumdar as his half-century, too; it's been a responsible innings so far from him — some smooth strokes and a lot of patient leaves and defensive strokes, pushes and nudges. Can the tail stick around with him?

Bengal vs Karnataka | The partnership has been broken by Abhimanyu Mithun, who dismisses Shahbaz lbw. Bengal seven down.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | A skip down the track and Sheldon Jackson hits a six through long-off. It was a powerful hit as he teed off after having run down the pitch to get to the pitch of the ball. The bowler: Axar Patel. Saurashtra 118 for 3 in the 51st over.

Bengal's Sudip Chatterjee walks back after being dismissed. - PTI

 

Bengal vs Karnataka | 50 partnership up for Bengal's seven-wicket pair of Anustup Majumdar and Shahbaz. After 46 overs, it's 125 for 6. Here's our correspondent Ayan Acharya, who is at the ground: Majumdar and Ahmed have mounted a counterattack. Bengal though not out of the woods has forced Karnataka on the back-foot briefly. Ahmed showing why he is rated so highly.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Two quick wickets. Here's Shayan Acharya: Is Saurashtra letting it slip? Avi Barot is dismissed by Axar Patel for 27. The momentum is lost! Back-to-back wickets mean Saurashtra is three down for 102.

Sheldon Jackson has come out to bat.

Harvik Desai attempted to play a drive off Nagwaswalla but the ball wasn't there to be driven; it was too full, and Harvik ended up chipping the ball to cover off the toe end of his bat. Barot tried to play an inside-out stroke off Axar, but ended up handing a catch to extra cover.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | 100 up for Saurashtra as well. Here's Shayan Acharya: A while after lunch, 100 comes up for Saurashtra. So far, it has been a steady batting display by the home side. Avi Barot and Harvik Desai have taken their time, ensuring that there's no slip-up. Gujarat looking for a breakthrough.

Bengal vs Karnataka | 100 up for Bengal, as Majumdar slashes More to third man for a boundary. It's been a strokeful few minutes as Shahbaz and Majumdar are willing to play freely. Majumdar has moved to 23, off 33 deliveries (5x4).

K. Gowtham (right) celebrates with his team-mates after getting rid of Bengal's Manoj Tiwary. - PTI

 

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Meanwhile, at the SCA stadium in Rajkot, there is a special guest. Informs Shayan Acharya: Former Saurashtra captain and erstwhile coach, Sitanshu Kotak, is in the ground to watch his team play.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Majumdar plays a picturesque drive through extra-cover off More. Shahbaz is the new batsman. Majumdar and Shahbaz scored a few runs in the quarterfinal against Odisha; can they resurrect the innings against the rampaging Karnataka?

Bengal vs Karnataka | Bengal six down now, as Shreevats Goswami was dismissed lbw for a duck by Ronit More on the third delivery after lunch. Mithun and More have two wickets each.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | It's lunch, in Rajkot. Saurashtra is on 89 for 1, with opener Harvik Desai batting on 28 (109b, 6x4) and Avi Barot on 21 (30b, 5x4).

Kishan Parmar rode his luck before falling to left-arm spinner Axar Patel. He has been the top scorer so far, with 37 (73b, 6x4).

Bengal vs Karnataka | Bengal five down, Ronit More dismisses Sudip Chatterjee lbw. It's lunch.

It was a session dominated by Karnataka's seamers. And after the only spinner was hit around for a few runs, he dismissed Manoj Tiwary. There's heavy burden now on Bengal's middle order.

 

Bengal vs Karnataka | An eventful sixth over for K. Gowtham. Anustup Majumdar gets off the mark by flicking him to midwicket for a boundary. Then, he steps down the track to play a delivery, and there's an appeal for a catch as the ball is caught by the short leg fielder. It's off his pad and not off his bat, though, and Karun Nair signals to his team-mates that there wasn't any bat. No DRS taken.

Bengal vs Karnataka | 50 up for Bengal, in the 26th over. Sudip Chatterjee plays a cut off a short, wide delivery from Mithun; collects four runs.

But Karnataka has the big wicket of Manoj Tiwary, who skips down the track to K. Gowtham and cannot clear the in-field; he is caught by the extra-cover fielder. Gowtham kisses him goodbye. Bengal four down. Anustup Majumdar is the new batsman.

Harvik Desai tries to get on top of the ball. - VIJAY SONEJI

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Gujarat finally has the breakthrough. Axar Patel has got Kishan bowled. Here's Shayan Acharya with the latest from Rajkot: Roosh Kalaria drops Kishan Parmar for 36. Chintan Gaja is disappointed as his team has missed out on another opportunity. Big relief for Saurashtra though!

Axar Patel has struck! Kishan Parmar is bowled for 37. Saurashtra loses its first wicket for 62. Avi Barot is the new man in.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Arnab Nandi gets an inswinging delivery from Mithun; the ball goes through the gap between his bat and his body. It's an edge, and S. Sharath, the wicketkeeper, leapt to his left to pouch the offering. Bengal is three wickets down now. Nandi looked solid in his short stay at the crease, but he'll have to depart for 17. It's 43 for 3.

Kishan Parmar pulls. - VIJAY SONEJI

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Kishan moves to 36 with a controlled pull stroke off Nagwaswalla. it was a short delivery, and Kishan duly gets his bat on top of the ball and steers it to fine leg. wenty-two overs up, in Rajkot; it's 61 for 0.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Twenty overs up, at the Eden Gardens. Off-spinner K. Gowtham, bowling his first over, has been swept to the fine leg boundary by Arnab Nandi. It's 38 for 2.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Here's Shayan Acharya: Time for drinks. Been quite a dull session for Gujarat. Parthiv Patel's decision to bowl first hasn't bore fruit yet.

Harvik Desai plays one through the off side. - VIJAY SONEJI

Bengal vs Karnataka | A picturesque drive through extra-cover from Arnab Nandi. Minimal, precise movement of body and feet. And he stayed still for a while after having played that stroke. The bowler: M. Prasidh. The score: 30 for 2 in the 18th over.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | A half-volley wide outside the off stump, from Roosh Kalaria. Kishan reaches for it, and duly collects a boundary through point. Saurashtra is on 34 for 0 in the 14th over.

Gujarat celebrates what appeared to be the dismissal of Kishan Parmar. But it turned out to be a no-ball. - VIJAY SONEJI

 

Bengal vs Karnataka | Easwaran's poor run continues, he's out for 15. It's the first wicket for M. Prasidh. Arnab Nandi has come out to bat. Here's Ayan Acharya: Karnataka seamers calling the shots. Good bounce and seam movement so far.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Gaja brings forth another edge, but this time, it flies past the outstretched hand of second slip for a four. Another close call for Kishan Parmar. Here's Shayan Acharya, our correspondent at the ground: There is an edge. Chintan Gaja looks excited, but it goes past the fielder at slips. Kishan Parmar has lived another day!

Parmar tries to hit out to release the pressure, but gets an edge once again, and the ball flies to the third-man region for another boundary.

The electronic scoreboard at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. - AYAN ACHARYA

 

Bengal vs Karnataka | Back-to-back boundaries for the out-of-form Abhimanyu Easwaran. Characteristically elegant strokes.

Here's our correspondent Ayan Acharya, who's at the ground: Massive test of character for Easwaran. He has judged line and length and left well so far. The patience paid off when he dispatched two boundaries in short intervals: a square cut and a cover drive.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Nearly a wicket for Gujarat, but not quite, as right-arm seamer Chintan Gaja has overstepped. He brought out an edge off the bat of Kishan Parmar, and it's taken at slip, but the umpire just wants to make sure about the front foot, and it's a no ball.

A view of the action at the SCA stadium in Rajkot. - SHAYAN ACHARYA

 

Bengal vs Karnataka | At the Eden Gardens, Bengal lost Abhishek Raman without a run on the board. He was dismissed by fast bowler Abhimanyu Mithun in the third over of the contest. Sudip Chatterjee has come in to bat, and Bengal, in the seventh over, is on 4 for 1.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Three overs are up, at the SCA stadium in Rajkot. Five runs have been scored, all five accounted for by opener Harvik Desai, who has hit a boundary. Left-arm seamer Roosh Kalaria is getting the ball to come into the right-hander. Kishan Parmar, Desai's opening partner, is yet to open his account.

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For much of India, the weather has started to become warm during the day. It signals a shift in seasons; the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy season, too, is due for a close. Four heavyweights still remain in the competition, and three matches are left.

A final spot would be welcome for any team, but for Saurashtra, Gujarat, and Karnataka, it will be a case of 'been there, done that' as they've been there in recent years. For Bengal, however, a win would hand it its first spot in the Ranji Trophy final in 13 years.

Manoj Tiwary & Co. will be up against Karnataka, though, which is now even stronger following the arrival of K. L. Rahul. It means Devdutt Padikkal, its prolific run-getter in the recent past, will likely warm the bench. For Bengal, clearly the underdog, will there be a useful home advantage to capitalise on at the Eden Gardens? We'll have to wait and see.

The Saurashtra-Gujarat contest at the SCA Stadium in Rajkot could be a run fest. A win for Gujarat would propel it to its first final since 2016-17.