Conservative Bengal labours to 190 for three

BENDING HIS BACK:Tamil Nadu’s Aswin Crist bowled in the right areas to restrict Bengal.— File Photo

BENDING HIS BACK:Tamil Nadu’s Aswin Crist bowled in the right areas to restrict Bengal.— File Photo  

Half-centuries from skipper Manoj Tiwary and Agniv Pan helped Bengal labour to 190 for three against Tamil Nadu on the opening day of their Group-A Ranji Trophy match here on Sunday.

Bengal won the toss and chose to bat on a flat but slow wicket. The Tamil Nadu pacers bowled with discipline, hitting the right areas from the get-go which forced the openers struggle for runs.

Left-arm pacer T. Natarajan, who returned to the side after recovering from an injury, got the breakthrough, removing opener Sayan Shekhar Mondal in the eighth over.

Earlier in that over, Natarajan bowled from around the wicket to the right-handed A.R. Eswaran and decided to bowl in-swingers.

This ploy worked as Mondal poked at a ball that came across, forcing him to edge it to Aparajith, who held the ball on the second attempt.

Just before lunch, Crist was rewarded for his persistence when Eswaran was bowled, going for a cut and dragging it onto his stumps.

The conservative approach handcuffed the Bengal batsmen and they even let go loose deliveries.

TN skipper Abhinav got his field placements spot on and the fielders backed up the skipper with some impressive ground fielding. Neither they give away easy runs nor allow the batsmen to rotate the strike.

Tiwary and Sudip Chatterjee managed to build a partnership, but the latter’s hamstring issues returned to haunt him, resulting in affecting the flow of runs. He eventually retired hurt.

Pan joined his skipper and tried to push for runs but the TN spinners stifled the pair once again.

Pan, who remained unbeaten on 51, hit seven fours including a six over long off. The duo put on 83 runs for the third wicket before Tiwary danced down the track to Aushik Srinivas only to give a sharp return catch to the left-arm spinner.

When asked about the slow scoring rate, Tiwary explained: “We are playing with six specialist batsmen and that’s why I think our openers were little bit in their shell. They were very cautious at the start of the game but I feel if we score close to 350, then we can put pressure on Tamil Nadu. We are confident that we’ll be able to restrict them under 350.”

TN, which took the second new ball for the last three balls of the day, will be hoping to restrict Bengal to a small total.

The scores: Bengal — 1st innings: A.R. Eswaran b Crist 31, Sayan Shekhar Mondal c Aparajith b Natarajan 0, Sudip Chatterjee (retd. hurt) 34, Manoj Tiwary c & b Aushik 56, Agniv Pan (batting) 51, Shreevats Goswami (batting) 15; Extras (w-2, nb-1): 3, Total (for three wickets in 90 overs): 190.

Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-51, 3-162;

Tamil Nadu bowling: Aswin Crist 19-7-19-1, T. Natarajan 17-2-56-1, K. Vignesh 19-4-46-0, R. Aushik Srinivas 17-2-33-1, M.S. Washington Sundar 18-6-36-0.

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