KOLKATA: Bengal, helped by good knocks from opener Subhamoy Das and skipper Deep Dasgupta, took the first innings lead against Baroda in the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy at the Eden Gardens here on Saturday. Das scored 115, while Dasgupta was unbeaten on 50.
At stumps on the second day, the host was five runs ahead with five wickets in hand. Bengal has to gain a substantial lead, as it has to bat last on a pitch that could crumble as the match progresses.
Despite making only 241 in its first innings, the Baroda attack showed a lot of discipline and made the Bengal batsmen toil for runs. Like the first day, the first hour saw two wickets fall. It was two for 10 as Bengal's two successful batsmen, Arindam Das and Avishek Jhunjhunwala, departed for no score.
Das, with a season's best of 83 in the last match against Railways, and Manoj Tiwari steadied the innings with a partnership of 98 for the third wicket, while Das and Dasgupta put on 63 for the fifth wicket.
Rising to the occasion
Das went on to reach his third Ranji century after occupying the crease for nearly four and a half hours and facing 185 balls. His previous two centuries had come in 2001-02, his debut year, and since then Das failed to make an impact and was even dropped. His effort of 115 (312m, 215b, 15x4), under trying circumstances, should provide an inspiration for the other batsmen.
Baroda would look to break the last recognised pair of Dasgupta (50 not out) and Laxmi Ratan Shukla (22 not out) first thing in the morning. The two have raised 55 runs so far.
The scores: Baroda - 1st innings: 241.
Bengal - 1st innings: A. Das c Shah b Patel 0, S. Das c & b Y. Pathan 115, A. Jhunjhunwala lbw b Patel 0, M. Tiwari c Y. Pathan b Pawar 35, K.H. Mondal lbw b Pawar 5, D. Dasgupta (batting) 50, L.R. Shukla (batting) 22; Extras (b-4, lb-4, nb-11): 19; Total (for five wkts. in 90 overs): 246.
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-10, 3-108, 4-128, 5-191.
Baroda bowling: Patel 24-9-66-2, I. Pathan 14-2-51-0, Joshi 10-4-27-0, Pawar 28-5-62-2, Y. Pathan 14-3-32-1.