Sudip Chatterjee’s unyielding batting propped up an erratic Bengal as it reached a modest 274 for eight at stumps on the opening day of its Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against Railways at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.
Put in to bat, the host’s innings staggered initially as Railways medium pacer Anureet Singh made good use of the conditions. Anureet picked up two wickets — opener Arindam Das and Subhomoy Das — off successive deliveries to have the Bengal innings tottering at two for three.
The Bengal youth brigade then took charge. Sudeep, at No. 4, stemmed the slide along with young opener Abhimanyu Easwaran with a 163-run partnership.
Sudip, an under-25 Bengal cricketer, scored a chanceless 96 (176b, 14x4) and guided his under-19 partner Abhimanyu. The two weathered a disciplined Railways’ bowling attack and steadied the innings with careful selection of shots.
Sudip was the more belligerent of the two and timed his shots well to keep Bengal’s scoreboard ticking. Despite his relative inexperience, Abhimanyu made few errors and showed good temperament in scoring 65 (191b, 4x10).
However, a lapse in concentration saw Abhimanyu edging Railways leg-spinner Karn Sharma to wicketkeeper Mahesh Rawat.
With the long partnership broken just before the tea break, Sudip failed to retain the focus after resumption and made an uncharacteristic error in judgement that robbed him of his first Ranji century.
Sudip misjudged an Anureet Singh delivery that left him sharply and the resultant edge was taken by the ’keeper. This started another slide as Bengal was reduced to eight for 233 adding just 43 runs.
The next four Bengal batsman including captain Laxmi Rantan Shukla (17) left in a hurry before an unlikely partnership — between wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (60 batting) and pacer Ashoke Dinda (17 batting) — again rescued the Bengal innings with an unbeaten 41-run partnership for the ninth wicket.
Anureet, who picked up four wickets giving away 75, justified captain Kartik Murali’s faith on an Eden wicket that helped the seamers.
Bengal — 1st innings: Abhimanyu Easwaran c Rawat b Karn Sharma 65, Arindam Das b Anureet Singh 2, Subhomoy Das b Anureet Singh 0, Sudip Chatterjee c Rawat b Anureet Singh 96, Wriddhiman Saha (batting) 60, Laxmi Ratan Shukla c Rawat b Kartik Murali 17, Writtick Chatterjee c Rawat b Anureet Singh 0, Saurashish Lahiri c Shukla b Kartik Murali 2, Sourav Sarkar (run out) 4, Ashoke Dinda (batting) 17; Extras (lb-3, b-4, nb-3, w-1): 11; Total (for eight wickets in 90 overs): 274.
Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-3, 3-166, 4-190, 5-211, 6-212, 7-217, 8-233.
Railways bowling: Anureet Singh 28.2-6-75-4, Krishnakant Upadhyay 20-6-64-0, Ranjit Mali 10-4-33-0, Karn Sharma 13.4-4-37-1, Kartik Murali 18-3-58-2