'Partnerships with Shahbaz and Akash were the turning points' - Majumdar

Bengal's Anustup Majumdar shared a 72-run stand with Shahbaz Ahmed before adding 103 with Akash Deep to rescue his side while making an unbeaten century himself.

Anustup Majumdar and Akash Deep

Anustup Majumdar (left) and Akash Deep put on a 103-run stand for eighth wicket.   -  PTI

The winter sun had begun to stamp its authority on a brisk February morning here when Bengal's top-scorer this season, Manoj Tiwary got out trying to take on K. Gowtham.

It only added to the pressure on Anustup Majumdar's shoulders who was walking in next; looking to both see off probing spells while putting runs on the board. Bengal went to lunch, five down for 66.

"I was sitting and watching from the dugout, what kind of lines they were bowling and preparing a game plan accordingly," Majumdar said after the day's play.

Majumdar was circumspect and patient at the crease. Like against Odisha in the quarters, where the experienced Majumdar hit a magnificent century to fashion Bengal’s astonishing recovery, the 35-year-old dug in and played with purpose.

Read: Majumdar rescues Bengal after initial struggle

"I walked in to bat with the team struggling at lunch. So to bail them out with a hundred was special."

When at the crease today, Majumdar looked like he had that little more time. He leant into drives, he stayed back for punches through the covers, and the Karnataka bowlers were made to look sluggish. His century stand with Akash Deep turned the momentum in Bengal's favour.

"My partnerships with Shahbaz and Akash were the turning points. I don't think they expected Akash to bat as well as he did. They kept the field up for him and still, he was able to score runs and even played the big shots," Majumdar said.

"As for Shahbaz, he's a strokemaker like me. Once he began playing his shots, it gave me the confidence to attack as well. I knew Shahbaz is comfortable against spinners, so I let him face Gowtham and as you saw, he scored a lot off him.

"We have a great top-order, they haven't been getting runs lately but that can happen. These guys (the top-order) are all professionals and know how to score big..it's not my place to tell anyone how to construct an innings. I'm sure they'll come good sooner than later," he added.

Majumdar has played the role of a rescuer for the fourth time this season. When the umpires called stumps, he had shepherded Bengal to 275/9.  As he walked towards the makeshift enclosure for media persons, he was flanked by local journalists, congratulating him on his second hundred of the season. CAB president Avishek Dalmiya later shook hands and praised the right-hander for a potentially match-winning knock.

As the interaction drew to a close, Majumdar said, "Akash and I have put on the runs. It's over to the bowlers now." A make or break Sunday awaits both sides.

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