Banerjee slams century

Bengal reach 252 for five; Karnataka hit back in final session

West Bengal’s Rohit Banerjee flicks en route to his century against Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy match at the Gangotri Glades, Mysore on Tuesday. DH photo/ Prashanth H G

A massive 172-run association for the third wicket between Manoj Tiwary and opener Rohan Banerjee notwithstanding, Bengal finished Tuesday’s opening day of their Ranji Trophy Super League tie on 252 for five, a total they wouldn’t be happy with considering they were 224 for two at one stage.

Having toiled hard without much success, Karnataka will be more than happy to have dismissed half of the visiting side. Left-arm pacer S Arvind did generate some buzz in the hosts’ camp by getting rid of a well-set opener Arindam Das and number three Deep Dasgupta in the space of three balls, but their delight soon turned into despair as southpaw Banerjee (107, 250b, 13x4) forged a solid association with stand-in skipper Tiwary (78, 169b, 8x4, 2x6) to dash Karnataka’s hopes of running through the visitors’ line-up.
      
The left-right combination ran the home bowlers ragged, switching between caution and aggression as Bengal innings grew in strength. The two linked up when the score read 52 for two and by the time they were separated when Sunil Joshi beat Tiwary to disturb his off-peg, the visitors had piled on 224 runs. The odds, however, still were stacked up in favour of Bengal before part-time leggie Amit Verma and paceman A Mithun got into act and brought Karnataka back into the game. Verma trapped a sweeping Banerjee leg-before while Mithun sent Abhishek Jhunjhunwala’s middle stump for a walk, helping Karnataka share the day’s honours.    
      
Into his second season after making his debut last year, Banerjee brought up his second Ranji ton to hold Bengal innings together along with Tiwary, who was named the skipper after Lakshmi Ratan Shukla, suffering from a thigh strain, failed to prove his fitness in the morning. After seeing off the new-ball threat, the little left-hander, dropped on 87 by Joshi off Arvind, chanced his arm at anything that was pitched outside the off. Karnataka bowlers were also guilty of feeding him on his strengths as seven fours in the arc between third-man and backward square-leg region would indicate. His partner Tiwary too was in the zone driving the pacers and lifting Joshi over the fence for two effortless sixes and the left-arm spinner’s delight at having nailed his nemesis was all too apparent.

The wicket at the Gangotri Glades did aid seamers early on in the day.
Banerjee and Das, however, blunted the early threat with a cautious approach.
Never during their 52-run alliance did the duo look in any sort of trouble as the visitors moved along smoothly.

While the two played Vinay Kumar with respect, they weren’t willing to give the same treatment to his partner Mithun, who in his effort to blast the batsmen strayed either down the leg or provided too much width.

It wasn’t until Arvind’s arrival that Karnataka earned a breakthrough, but the hosts failed to build on the success even as Uthappa kept on rotating his bowlers.

However, the clutch of wickets in the final session should encourage the hosts to press home the advantage on the morrow.
 

SCORE BOARD

BENGAL (I Innings): Rohan Banerjee lbw Verma 107 (369m, 250b, 13x4), Arindam Das c Akhil b Arvind 27 (105m, 58b, 3x4), Deep Dasgupta b Arvind 0 (2m, 2b), Manoj Tiwary b Joshi 78 (237m, 169b, 8x4, 2x6), Abhishek Jhunjhunwala b Mithun 8 (35m, 31b, 1x4), Wriddhiman Saha (batting) 3 (22m, 27b), Shib Sagar Singh (batting) 1 (9m, 10b). Extras (B-1, LB-13, NB-6, W-3, Penalty-5) 28. Total (for 5 wkts, 90 overs) 252.
Fall of wickets: 1-52 (Das), 2-52 (Dasgupta), 3-224 (Tiwary), 2-241 (Banerjee), 5-246 (Jhunjhunwala).

Bowling: Vinay Kumar 21-4-46-0 (nb-1), A Mithun 17-3-39-1 (nb-2, w-1), S Arvind 18-5-48-2 (nb-1, w-2), Sunil Joshi 17-5-46-1, B Akhil 8-2-26-0, Amit Verma 9-2-28-1 (nb-2).

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