This season, Railways’ batsmen are busy undoing all the good work done by their bowlers. Following the course shown by Tamil Nadu and Gujarat in the previous two matches, Bengal hits back after being bowled out on the opening day of its Ranji Trophy match here.
After restricting Tamil Nadu for 121 and Gujarat for 187 in the first innings but ending up on the losing side, Railways stopped Bengal at 205. However, by stumps, Bengal medium pacers seized the psychological advantage by leaving Railways worried at 37 for four.
Railways made the most of winning the toss in conditions conducive for medium pacers. With the ball seaming and swinging, all Bengal batsmen with the exception of Sudip Chatterjee looked vulnerable.
The fall of three frontline batsmen – Sayan Mondal, skipper Manoj Tiwary and Wriddhiman Saha – all to medium pacer Amit Mishra at 62 hurt Bengal and it never looked like posting a big total despite Chatterjee and Agniv Pan adding 66 runs for the fifth wicket. Ashok Dinda’s 30 was instrumental in Bengal touching the 200-run mark.
Anureet Singh claimed four wickets and fellow medium pacer Mishra’s haul included the scalps of Tiwary and Saha in one over. Skipper and wicketkeeper Mahesh Rawat pouched five catches.
Bengal’s innings centred around Chatterjee’s 85, an innings of perseverance in trying conditions. He used all his experience and chose the right ball to punish. Unlike most Bengal batsmen whose stroke-selection spelt their doom, Chatterjee was a picture of patience.
His knock was dotted with 11 boundaries, including some exquisite cover drives and on-drives. What could have been his sixth Ranji Trophy century ended up as his 10th half century after he offered a return-catch to Anureet on 85.
When Railways batted, the trio of Dinda, Amit Kuila and Sayan Ghosh bowled a discipline line, concentrated on making the batsmen play and reaped the harvest.
After being hit for a boundary off the first ball of the innings, Dinda accepted a return catch from Saurabh Wakaskar. Mrunal Devdhar fiddled at an away going delivery was offered Pankaj Shaw a low catch in the slip cordon. V. Cheluvaraj was caught behind off Ghosh. Arindam Ghosh, playing against his former team, had his off-stump uprooted by Kuila, playing his second match.
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