In a display totally bereft of character, Tamil Nadu went down by four runs to Bengal in a thriller at Chepauk here on Wednesday to be knocked out of this season’s Ranji Trophy.

Beginning day three at 102 for one, Tamil Nadu collapsed to 180 all out on a pitch assisting spin but, as home coach W.V. Raman said, “it was not a minefield by any standards.”

Bengal, propelled by steady off-spinner Sourasish Lahiri’s seven-wicket haul, showed belief. Tamil Nadu, lacking pride, didn’t.

Bengal has 24 points

Led capably by Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Bengal finished with 24 points in Group ‘B’; if Baroda fails to defeat Rajasthan in Jaipur, Bengal goes through. Tamil Nadu stayed on 18.

Amid much drama and tension, Tamil Nadu’s last wicket pair of Malolan Rangarajan and Aushik Srinivas added 22 runs in nine overs before the former, trying to work one, was trapped leg-before by off-spinner Writtick Chatterjee.

The earlier batsmen should have closed out the game.

Turning point

The turning point arrived when Dinesh Karthik (62, 148b, 7x4) fell into a trap; he chipped Lahiri to deep mid-on. Earlier, Shukla had tied Karthik down with fastish off-breaks to build pressure.

The compact Baba Aparajith (33) raised hopes briefly before being held at short-leg off off-spinner Arnab Nandy.

For most part, Tamil Nadu’s batting lacked technique. The right-handers could have taken an off-stump guard against Lahiri to negate the turn and force the off-spinner to shift line.

Raman attributed the capitulation to a “diabolical batting approach.” He added, “For the errors we made, this was a fitting result.”

Shukla said: “With so many India and IPL stars, we expected Tamil Nadu to play better against an inexperienced side like us.”

This game is not about reputations.

The scores:

Bengal — 1st innings: 130.

Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: 85.

Bengal — 2nd innings: 139.

Tamil Nadu — 2nd innings: Abhinav Mukund c Eashwaran b W. Chatterjee 26, Dinesh Karthik c Dinda b Lahiri 62, S. Badrinath lbw b Lahiri 21, B. Aparajith c Eashwaran b Nandy 33; B. Indrajith c Eashwaran b Lahiri 2; L. Balaji lbw b Lahiri 1; Vijay Shankar c Basu b S. Lahiri 0; R. Prasanna c Basu b Lahiri 5, Malolan Rangarajan lbw b Chatterjee 11; Rahil Shah c Chatterjee b Lahiri 1; R. Aushik Srinivas (not out) 10; Extras (lb-7, nb-1): 8, Total (in 81.5 overs): 180.

Fall of wickets: 1-72, 2-110, 3-125, 4-131, 5-133, 6-144, 7-156, 8-156, 9-158.

Bengal bowling: Ashoke Dinda 4-0-6-0; Sourasish Lahiri 33-10-62-7; Jitender Shaw 4-1-4-0, Arnab Nandy 12-1-34-1, Iresh Saxena 18-9-35-0, Writtick Chatterjee 6.5-0-24-2, Laxmi Ratan Shukla 4-1-8-0.


Karthik puts TN in comfort zoneJanuary 1, 2014

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