Subhomoy Das grabbed a chance entry into the team with a dogged 95 that steered Bengal’s innings to respectability against holder Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy match here at the Eden Gardens on Friday.
Das dug in to the reserves of his patience — as prescribed by the Bengal coach W.V. Raman on the eve of the match — and applied himself well to the resurrection of the host’s innings.
Though he could not fulfil a personal milestone falling five short of a century, Das had constructed the foundation of the Bengal innings, which reached 187 for four as the opening day’s action ended 31 overs short owing to poor light.
Interestingly, Das — who did not turn out to bat in the final day’s nets ahead of the match — made it into the playing eleven following injuries to the regular openers Partha Sarathi Bhattacharjee and Rohan Banerjee.
The 30-year-old middle-order batsman, who by his own account last opened the innings for the state almost three seasons ago, made the most of the opportunity by admirably standing up to Rajasthan’s pace attack.
His 95 (154b, 4x15, 6x1) was carefully constructed much unlike most of his top-order colleagues who failed to last long against the opposition attack.
Captain Manoj Tiwary (42) was the only person complimenting Das’s efforts in the Bengal innings.
Riding on the confidence of a robust 93 that he had scored earlier in the week for India ‘A’ against the touring England team, Tiwary timed his shots well and looked set for a big innings.
The two paired in a 95-run partnership for the third wicket before Tiwary, who is eyeing an India cap, gave away his wicket mis-timing a shot apparently in a hurry to reach his 50.
Tiwary (70b, 4x8) departed with the score at 169 before Das followed suit seven runs later.
Bengal will now look to India campaigner Wriddhiman Saha (6 batting) and Anustup Majumdar (9 batting) to carry the innings forward.
For Rajasthan, pacer Pankaj Singh did most of the damage picking up three Bengal wickets while off-spinner Madhur Khatri claimed one.
The scores: Bengal – 1st innings: Jayojit Basu c Choudhary b Pankaj 6; Subhomoy Das lbw b Pankaj 95; Writam Porel c Yagnik b Pankaj 22; Manoj Tiwary c Menaria b Khatri 42; Anustup Majumdar (batting) 9, Wriddhiman Saha (batting) 6, Extras (lb-6, nb-1) 7; Total (for four wickets in 59 overs) 187.
Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-74, 3-169, 4-176.
Rajasthan bowling: Pankaj Singh 17-2-30-3, Rituraj Singh 19-2-78-0, Aniket Choudhary 10-3-23-0, Madhur Khatri 9-1-44-1, Ashok Menaria 4-1-6-0.