Bengal resist, as a slow-burning thriller awaits a heady climax
Written by Devendra Pandey
| Rajkot |

Updated: March 13, 2020 8:26:17 am


Anustup Majumdar and Arnab Nandi, who’ve placed on an unbeaten 91-run stand, will resume batting for Bengal on Day 5. (Twitter/BCCIDomestic)

The tug of war at Rajkot for the Ranji Trophy continues to gradual boil ever so fascinatingly. The area simmered with gritty fightback from Bengal, Saurashtra stirred up three wickets within the afternoon, and the strain cooked within the remaining session however Bengal not solely held on, however didn’t lose any wickets. Just 72 runs extra for the first-innings lead for Bengal. Only 4 wickets extra for Saurashtra. Sudip Chatterjee and Wriddhiman Saha dug in first earlier than Anustup Majumdar, who hit lots of in quarters and semis, trenched in with Arnab Nandi.

Heart-warming tales abound the lads nonetheless with a likelihood to grab the sport. Majumdar, 35 years, needed to change to Railways Ranji crew in 2014 to maintain his job at Railways however didn’t get to play many matches for 2 years. He returned to play for Bengal however needed to take a robust choice to stop his job final 12 months as he was requested to return to Railways; he selected cricket and has now dragged Bengal in direction of a dreamy finale. Nandi solely performed this recreation due to his ability to bowl off-breaks, else would have been changed by a specialist batsman.

Heart-aching tales, too. Jaydev Unadkat had a mindboggling 65 wickets within the event main as much as the sport however has been unable to take yet one more in 30 overs. Saha was dropped off his bowling as soon as and the restricted DRS plausibly denied him the lbw wicket of India’s wicketkeeper one other time.

READ | Unadkat’s sensational 7/56 propels Saurashtra into Ranji final

He has tried all the pieces, explored all angles from over to around the stumps, from totally different factors on the crease, and has even received it to reverse however no reward but. He would hope to finish on a excessive. Spare some thought to Harvik Desai, who dropped Majumdar on 10 at first slip off the spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja with Bengal nonetheless needing 176 runs for the lead.

Unadkat and his males stored poking and probing however have been met with grim resistance on the fourth day. Unadkat may have plausibly had Saha, on 6, however the restricted DRS led to a debatable name from third umpire – he overruled the on-field umpire’s lbw choice as he felt he heard two sounds. When Saha was on 46, Vishwarajsinh Jadeja couldn’t get down rapidly at gully to pouch a sharp catch. Only close to the half-way mark of the day, Bengal misplaced their first wicket of Chatterjee who fell for a valiant 81 after a 101-run stand with Saha, sporting down Saurashtra for practically 50 overs.

READ | At 35, Bengal’s Anustup Majumdar gets second wind

Then two extra fell in the identical, second, session as Saha and Shahbaz Ahmed have been dismissed to go away Bengal at 263 for six. Chatterjee fell to bat-pad-catch at short-leg off Dharmendrasinh, and Saha’s tried lower had the ball run off the within edge and brush the stumps and it took a replay to verify that he was bowled by Prerak Mankad. Chetan Sakariya received one to straighten across the off stump to scrub up Ahmed.

When play resumed after tea Bengal have been 264 for six with Majumdar on 17 and Nandi but to attain. This was the session the place conditions have really helped the bowling in all of the three earlier days.

The ball has reversed, stored low greater than anytime else within the day and Bengal didn’t rating a run off the bat within the final 59 minutes on third day. But on this fourth night, they scored 91 runs and haven’t misplaced a wicket as Majumdar and Nandi pressed on.

Just a few issues went improper for Saurashtra. Like their choice to have the wicketkeeper Avi Barot stand as much as the stumps this session. The rationale was comprehensible: with the batsmen making an attempt to face exterior the crease to deal with reverse swing and low bounce, it made sense for Barot to face up. But they leaked 16 runs off byes, and Bengal even received 5 penalty runs as the ball as soon as hit the fielding helmet parked on the bottom. In a tight recreation, Saurashtra have leaked 37 extras.

Clarity of thought

Majumdar’s readability of thought shone via. He didn’t strive extending himself an excessive amount of. Only when the seamers slipped in traces and lengths, did he rating of them. He used his ft to spinners neatly however by no means rushed out too early.

When the left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh bowled on the limiting line exterior leg for a whereas, he and Nandi stored padding them away. Majumdar additionally used the sweep shot neatly, amassing couple of boundaries off Dharmendrasinh.

Five of his eight fours got here off the left-arm spinner. It was a lot of crew work, too. When Majumdar was new to the crease, Saha had pointed a spot to him from the place the ball was prone to flip sharp.

Around 100 individuals had turned up on the fourth day and the ultimate day can be performed with out the followers as per directives from ministry of well being as a result of Covid-19 menace. Catch it on the telly, although, as it guarantees to be a grueling struggle to complete.

Brief Scores: Saurashtra 425 in 171.5 (Arpit Vasavda 106, Cheteshwar Pujara 66, Dharamendrasinh Jadeja 33; Akash Deep 4/98; Shahbaz Ahmed 3/103) lead Bengal 354/6 in 147 overs (Sudip Chatterjee 81, Wriddhiman Saha 64, Anustup Majumdar 58) by 71 runs.

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