Ranji Trophy Final, Day Four: Chatterjee, Majumdar keep Bengal afloat

At stumps on Day Four, Bengal was six down for 354, requiring another 71 runs to claim the first-innings lead.

Jaydev Unadkat looks at the sky after the dismissal of Wriddhiman Saha. - VIJAY SONEJI

Welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the fourth day of the Ranji Trophy final between Saurashtra and Bengal.

STUMPS

In Rajkot: Bengal 354 for 6 (Chatterjee 81, Saha 64, Majumdar 58 n.o.) trails Saurashtra 425 by 71 runs.

 

UPDATES

Thanks to Anustup Majumdar and Arnab Nandi, there's a change in the scenario in the contest, after Bengal's prospects looked bleak in the second session, when Shahbaz was dismissed bowled by Chetan Sakariya.

Bengal lost three middle-order wickets in the second session, and a mountain remained to be climbed in terms of runs. Majumdar and Nandi, with some enterprising play in the final session, have given Bengal some hope.

Both batsmen looked to attack left-arm spinner Jadeja, and pounce on loose deliveries from the other bowlers. Saurashtra would have been tired after two long days on the field; there were some wayward deliveries.

Yet, a cluster of wickets can abruptly hand the contest to Saurashtra on the final day. And they will be fresh and eager for wickets in the morning.

Join us, to witness either Saurashtra or Bengal claim the Ranji Trophy tomorrow. Until then, it's goodbye. Play begins at 9.05am.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Arnab Nandi safely plays out an over from Unadkat, and it's stumps. A good session for Bengal. The contest is still anybody's, although Saurashtra still has the advantage.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Anustup gets a full delivery outside the off-stump from Unadkat, and he plays a drive through extra cover to bring up the 350 for Bengal.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Arnab gets hit on the hand by a good-length delivery from Unadkat that bounced a bit higher than Arnab expected it to. Arnab shaped up to defend that delivery, but the ball climbed up and hit his hand. He immediately dropped his bat and grimaced. The physio comes and attends to him.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Anustup gets to his half-century with a boundary through midwicket off Jadeja. He came down the track and flicked the ball.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Less than 100 runs needed now for a first-innings lead. Anustup repeats Arnab's stroke off Jadeja and gets a boundary through square leg. In the same over, he gets a delivery that pitches on a good length and then turns excessively; the ball goes between keeper and slip for four byes.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Jadeja resumes bowling, this time from around the wicket. Arnab tries to play a sweep but doesn't get to the pitch of the ball and it comes on to his body. Next ball, Jadeja gets sharp turn; the ball turns away from Arnab's bat as Arnab comes forward to defend. Then, a fuller delivery and Arnab attempts the sweep again; this time, it's a good hit. The ball races to the boundary between square leg and fine leg.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | 50 partnership up for Anustup and Arnab. It's a costly over from Prerak Mankad; Arnab swipes across the line to pick up a boundary through midwicket, and later, Mankad drifts down leg and pays the price; the ball brushes Arnab's pad and runs away to the boundary.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Anustup taps a delivery from Unadkat to cover to take a single and bring up the 300 for Bengal. It's an expensive over from Unadkat, as the wicketkeeper is standing up to the stumps. Arnab Nandi leaves alone a delivery and it couldn't be collected neatly by the keeper; it runs away for four byes. There's another boundary to finish the over; it's leg bye. Unadkat drifts down leg and the ball brushes Arnab's thigh and runs away again.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | An expensive over from Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, his 45th of the innings. Anustup rocks on to the back-foot to pull a short delivery to midwicket for a boundary. One of the deliveries goes past the wicketkeeper and hits the helmet behind him - five penalty runs for that. Jadeja is persisting with his outside-the-leg-stump line.

Anustup Majumdar plays through the off side. - VIJAY SONEJI

 

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Now, Anustup decides to come down the track to the left-arm spinner. He clubs the ball straight and gets a boundary. Another stroke of belligerence.

A huge shout for lbw, but impact of the ball is outside the off-stump, probably. Unadkat was the bowler, Arnab Nandi the batsman. The umpire says not out. After some delay, Unadkat takes the review, but because of the delay, the review can't be taken.

And replays show there was an inside edge.

Shahbaz is bowled. - VIJAY SONEJI

 

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Arnab Nandi comes down the track to left-arm spinner Jadeja and tees off for a flat six straight. It was an authoritative stroke, the second six of the innings for Bengal. Nandi moves to 7.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Arnab Nandi gets off the mark with a single to fine leg. He gets one on his pads and flicks it. Sakariya the bowler, it's the first over after tea.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | And Sakariya has a wicket. He gets a delivery to pitch on a good length on the off-stump line, the ball goes past the bat and hits the off-stump. Shahbaz is bowled. Bengal six down.

Chetan Sakariya is cock-a-hoop after getting Shahbaz bowled. - VIJAY SONEJI

 

Here's Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya: Arnab Nandi is Bengal's last recognised batsman. Sakariya came from nowhere to get this crucial wicket before lunch. Shahbaz had nothing to do. Unreal delivery. Celebrations galore. Sakariya is a product of the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai. Last year, he had told us how Glenn McGrath had helped him.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Majumdar comes out a step or two, and then neatly flicks a delivery from Sakariya to midwicket for a boundary. Some enterprise shown. The ball was in the air, but there was no fielder; a safe stroke.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | A full delivery from Sakariya, and Shahbaz plays a nice square drive to get his second boundary.

 

Saurashtra vs Bengal | 250 up for Bengal. Lots of defensive prods. Ten runs have been added in 7.1 overs by Anustup Majumdar and Shahbaz Ahmed.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Shahbaz gets off the mark by flicking a delivery from Mankad to leg for four.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Saha departs. He gets an inside edge off a good-length delivery from Mankad, and the ball brushes the stumps. The bail didn't come off immediately; it took the third umpire to confirm it. Saha goes for 64 (184b, 10x4, 1x6).

It's turning out to be a good session for Saurashtra. Bengal is still 184 runs behind.

Sudip Chatterjee raises his bat after reaching 50. - VIJAY SONEJI

 

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Saha cuts Mankad to get a boundary through third man, and in the next over, Anustup gets his second boundary, also via a late cut, off Jadeja. And then he nearly gifts his wicket away by playing another late cut; the ball goes straight to slip, but the fielder fumbles and the catch is dropped.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Here's Wriddhaayan with a small nugget: Looking at the Bengal squad, one grand realisation is that there is not a single player who have their origins in Kolkata:

Sudip Gharami (Naihati), Abhimanyu Easwaran (Dehradun), Sudip Chatterjee (Barasat), Manoj Tiwary (Howrah), Wriddhiman Saha (Siliguri), Anustup Majumdar (Hooghly), Shahbaz Ahmed (Mewat), Arnab Nandi (Arambagh), Akash Deep (Bihar), Mukesh Kumar (UP), Ishan Porel (Chandannagore).

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Anustup Majumdar is the new batsman. He gets an outside edge off Chirag Jani and the ball runs away to the boundary in the third-man region. Anustup is off the mark.

This is Anustup's 64th first-class match, and he has won no title with Bengal. Our correspondent had a chat with him after the second day's play.

Wriddhiman Saha plays the drive. - VIJAY SONEJI

 

Saurashtra vs Bengal | After half hour of the afternoon session, Saurashtra has the breakthrough. Chatterjee gets an edge and the ball is caught by the short-leg fielder. The bowler: Dharmendrasinh Jadeja. Chatterjee came forward to defend, the ball caught the inside-edge of his bat and ballooned to the fielder.

Chatterjee is distraught; he has to go for 81 (241b, 7x4). It was a marathon effort from him; lots of patience, lots of concentration, and of course, a number of nice strokes. Bengal 225 for 3.

Here's Wriddhaayan: Chatterjee's 430-minute vigil, spanning two days, comes to an end. There is no reason to be disappointed because he played a marathon of a knock. Over to Wriddhiman. Joining him, is his childhood friend Anustup Majumdar. Wriddhi and Anustup had started their careers together as kids. They used to represent their respective districts. Wriddhi for Siliguri and Anustup for Hooghly. This is a grand reunion in the middle.

Wriddhiman Saha tees off. - VIJAY SONEJI

 

Saurashtra vs Bengal | It's lunch, at the SCA stadium in Rajkot, after a quiet over from Jadeja. An absorbing session; Saha and Chatterjee have been solid for Bengal.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | There's another DRS referral taken to determine whether Saha has been dismissed. Left-arm spinner Jadeja gets one to turn away from the bat, after pitching. Did the ball touch the bat as it went past it? The wicketkeeper and the man at slip think so; the umpire doesn't.

The third umpire confirms the noise was of the bat touching the ground, and not the ball.

Here's Wriddhaayan: Unadkat throws one back at Sudip, hits the stumps. And it's broken. An official comes in with a spare stump. Saurashtra look frustrated now. And Wriddhiman did not raise his bat after scoring the fifty. He is perhaps in a different zone.

A view of the action from Rajkot. - WRIDDHAAYAN BHATTACHARYYA

 

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Saha is nearly dismissed again. He pushes at a delivery away from his body, and the edge travels to gully, where it evades the fielder and goes to the boundary. The ball came to the fielder on the full, but it was slightly to his left, and by the time he moved to his left, the ball had passed him by. It brings up the 50 for Saha.

In the next over, bowled by Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, he plays a nice drive through extra cover.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Saha flicks to leg to get another boundary and move to 45. It was a full delivery on the middle-stump line. It brings up the 200 for Bengal.

Sudip Chatterjee attempts a cut. - VIJAY SONEJI

 

Here's Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya, our correspondent at the venue: Crowd chanting JD JD from the stands to back Unadkat. We hear his family is also here. On the other hand, Sudip Chatterjee is batting for 330 minutes now. Immense mental strength.

Saha survived today due to the DRS. He was clearly plumb. To shrug it off, he hit two elegant boundaries off Unadkat. This game is very much open but it depends how quickly Bengal can get close to 400. At this run-rate, it will be tough to sustain.

Sudip Chatterjee and Wriddhiman Saha run between the wickets. - VIJAY SONEJI

 

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Another DRS referral, and again, Saha is the batsman in question. And again, he survives. Bowling from around the wicket, Jaydev Unadkat gets a delivery to hit Saha's back leg. It pitched on a good length and came in with the angle. The ball would go on to hit the stumps, but what's the point of impact? The on-field umpire rules not out.

The DRS is taken, and half of the ball is shown to be outside the line of the off-stump.

Unadkat chats with the umpire, and lets him know via expression that he wasn't happy with his decision. Of course, in a friendly way. And the umpire lets out a smile. If he had given it out, it would have been out.

Saurashtra, though, retained the review.

The stands at the SCA stadium in Rajkot. - WRIDDHAAYAN BHATTACHARYYA

Saurashtra vs Bengal | The new ball has been taken, and so far it's not resulted in a dismissal. Saha guided a delivery bowled by Unadkat from outside the off-stump to gully and collect a boundary. It wasn't a totally safe stroke, as the ball was in the air for some time, and the gully fielder was positioned there. The ball went to the left of the fielder.

With the new ball, the run-rate could improve for Bengal.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Jadeja bowls over the wicket to get his deliveries to pitch outside the leg-stump to the right-handed Saha. On the first ball of this over, the 82nd, Saha flicks and the ball hits the short-leg fielder and balloons up and lands a metre or two away. Jadeja lets out a smile.

Next ball, Saha decides to thrust his left leg to the ball. Then, he goes on to the back-foot and plays a pull stroke for a single. The left-handed Sudip Chatterjee plays the rest of the over safely.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Chatterjee gets a delivery on his legs, and he duly flicks it to midwicket collect his seventh boundary. The second new had been available but Prerak Mankad bowled the 81st over with the old ball. A single taken off a bye brings up the 50 partnership for Chatterjee and Saha.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Another DRS referral, and again, it's to do with whether or not Wriddhiman Saha has been dismissed. Chirag Jani gets a ball to drift down the leg side, and Saha gently shapes up for a subconscious tuck to fine-leg; the ball passes the bat and is collected by the wicketkeeper, who is standing up to the right-arm seamer.

First, the DRS is used to determine whether Saha is caught behind. The third umpire sees gap between the ball and the glove as it went past, and asks the on-field umpire to stay with his decision. Then, the third umpire checks whether he's been stumped out; the wicketkeeper is seen taking off the bails with ball in hand when Saha's foot is firmly planted inside the crease.

Not out.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Saha comes down the track to left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, and gently lofts him for a six down the ground. It was a nicely executed stroke; hardly any muscle, the momentum was created by his footwork and bat-swing. It's the first six of the innings.

Jaydev Unadkat celebrates after getting an lbw verdict against Wriddhiman Saha. The decision was reversed after referral. - VIJAY SONEJI

 

Saurashtra vs Bengal | Soon after his reprieve, Saha nearly threw his wicket away by his eagerness to steal a quick single. Pushing a delivery to mid-off, he immediately took off, and he came halfway down the track before turning around. The throw was wayward; also, the wicketkeeper fumbled while collecting the ball. Saha was long way away from his crease; he would have been out.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | The DRS verdict by umpire S. Ravi was confusing because the evidence for it appeared unconvincing. Bowling from around the wicket, Unadkat got a delivery to pitch on or just outside the off-stump line on a good length, and it angled in to Saha, who awkwardly tried to get bat on it, but the ball thudded into the pad on his left leg. He opted for the DRS after consulting his partner, after having been given out by the on-field umpire. Of course, there was little doubt the ball would go on to hit the stumps; the only question was - was there bat involved?

Ravi asked the broadcasters to provide a number of replays - real speed and slow motion - to ascertain whether there was bat on ball. The ball did not deviate from its trajectory when it went past his bat and thudded into the pad. But Ravi heard two sounds and was convinced that there was bat on ball, and asked the on-field umpire to change his decision.

Now, it might appear that the two sounds may have been of the ball hitting the pad, and the bat hitting the pad.

But Saha survives.

Saurashtra vs Bengal | An eventful half hour of play so far on Day Four, at the SCA stadium in Rajkot. Saha is lucky to have survived this morning, after a confusing DRS reprieve and a near run-out. And he celebrated it by playing two flowing drives through extra-cover for boundaries off Jaydev Unadkat.

Sudip Chatterjee reached his half-century, a just reward for having shown a lot of patience and vigilance on Day Three.

------------------------

It's been a battle of attrition between the teams so far in this absorbing contest. The pitch is slow, and has low bounce, and to cope with it, both teams have batted slowly.

Sudip Chatterjee batted for much of Day Three and yet hasn't reached his half-century; he is batting on 47 and it'll be fitting if he gets to the landmark. After all, he batted carefully, defending and leaving deliveries alone to thwart Saurashtra's bowlers on Day Three. But he did play a few strokes, some cuts and drives, whenever there was a loose delivery.

Bengal still has a long way to go to take the first-innings lead. Another 291 runs are needed to level the scores. He would be key if Bengal has to get anywhere near 425. And given that there's only one more day to go, whoever takes that lead will likely get the trophy.

STUMPS, DAY THREE

In Rajkot: Bengal 134 for 3 trails Saurashtra 425 (Vasavada 106, Pujara 66, Akash Deep 4 for 98) by 291 runs.

 

Playing XIs:

Saurashtra: Jaydev Unadkat (c), Cheteshwar Pujara, Sheldon Jackson, Arpit Vasavada, Chirag Jani, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Harvik Desai, Avi Barot (wk), Prerak Mankad, Vishwaraj Jadeja, Chetan Sakariya

Bengal: Abhimanyu Easwaran (c), Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Anustup Majumdar, Sudip Chatterjee, Arnab Nandi, Shahbaz Ahmed, Ishan Porel, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, and Sudip Gharami.

 

The match will be streamed live on Hotstar.