The batsmen needed to be decisive on a pitch offering considerable purchase for the spinners on day one of the crucial Tamil Nadu-Bengal Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy match at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Monday.
They either had to use their feet effectively to get to the pitch or go right back, gauge the extent of turn, and play the ball late.
Not backing their technique instead, both the Bengal and Tamil Nadu batsmen lashed out in desperation.
Bengal, opting to bat, was bundled out for 130. Tamil Nadu was reeling at 66 for six.
Tamil Nadu off-spinner Malolan Rangarajan, rightly quicker through the air than he normally is, got his deliveries to spin and bounce.
On such a responsive surface, a spinner needs to hit the right areas and get the wicket to do the rest.
Malolan finished with a career-best six for 30. He was ably supported by Rahil Shah. Left-armer spinner Shah’s flattish style is ideally suited for tracks of this nature.
Symbolic of Bengal’s batting was skipper and key player Laxmi Ratan Shukla stepping out first ball to be stumped by Dinesh Karthik off Shah.
Subhomay Das struck some bright shots in 49-ball 36 (6x4, 1x6) and the left-handed Sudip Chatterjee battled for his 34 not out (73 balls, 3x4) but there was little else.
The home batsmen, hemmed in by close catchers, struggled against the turning ball too. B. Aparajith and Abhinav Mukund misjudged the extent of spin.
S. Badrinath, caught at mid-on, perished to the wrong shot. Left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena and off-spinner Sourasish Lahiri were steady for Bengal, with the pitch providing their bowling a different dimension.
The strokeful Dinesh Karthik (28) succumbed to an attempted sweep off off-spinner Arnab Nandy in the day’s last over.
This match seems heading for an early finish.
The scores: Bengal — 1st innings: G. Basu lbw R. Shah 6, A. Eashwaran c B. Indrajith b Malolan 17, S. Das c A. Mukund b R. Shah 36, S. Chatterjee (not out) 34, A. Nandy c B. Aparajith b Malolan 14, L.R. Shulka st. D. Karthik b R. Shah 0, W. Chatterjee c R. Shah b Malolan 9, S. Lahiri c R. Shah b Malolan 5, A. Dinda st. D. Karthik b Malolan 0, I. Saxena b Malolan 0, J. Shaw b R. Shah 0, Extras (b-6, lb-2, nb-1): 9, Total (in 52 overs): 130.
Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-56, 3-64, 4-85, 5-86, 6-101, 7-107, 8-117, 9-123.
Tamil Nadu bowling: Laxmipathy Balaji 7-2-14-0, Vijay Shankar 6-2-13-0, Rahil Shah 23-5-65-4, Malolan Rangarajan 16-2-30-6.
Tamil Nadu 1st innings: B. Aparajith b I. Saxena 8, A. Mukund c S. Das b I. Saxena 14, S. Badrinath c L.R. Shukla b S. Lahiri 3, B. Indrajith c A. Eashwaran b S. Lahiri 3, D. Karthik c S. Das b A. Nandy 28, Vijay Shankar b W. Chatterjee 6, R. Prasanna (batting) 0, Extras (b-4): 4, Total (for six wkts in 35.1 overs): 66.
Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-29, 3-29, 4-45, 5-66, 6-66.
Bengal bowling: Ashoke Dinda 4-1-4-0, Sourasish Lahiri 15-5-27-2, Iresh Saxena 10-2-21-2, Jitendra Shaw 2-1-1-0, Arnab Nandy 2.1-0-4-1, Writtick Chatterjee 2-1-5-1.