Tiwary's fifty saves Bengal

Tiwary's fifty saves Bengal

Visitors cling on to a draw against Karnataka

Tiwary's fifty saves Bengal

Bengal’s Manoj Tiwary flicks en route to his unbeaten 65 against Karnataka in their Ranji Trophy match in Gangotri Glades, Mysore on Friday. dh photo/ Prashanth H G

For the second match in succession Karnataka came agonisingly close to claiming the full points but failed to provide the finishing touches which would have fetched them five points. In the second match in Delhi they were well on course for a victory when bad light put paid to their aspirations. On Friday, the determined Bengal batsmen -- with stand-in skipper Tiwary (65 n.o., 218m, 155b, 4x4) leading from the front – hung on to their dear lives to deny the home team an outright win.

Having declared their first innings at the overnight score of 523 for nine, the hosts had reduced visitors to 213 for six when the play was called off after 11 mandatory overs. By virtue of their 199-run first innings lead, Karnataka pocketed three points that were enough to help them maintain their top slot in Group ‘B’ at 11 points while Bengal, for the second match in succession, had to settle for one point.

After the good start provided by openers Deep Dasgupta and Arindam Das, Tiwary found admirable support during his crucial knock as Karnataka’s efforts to dismiss the visitors came to naught. It was an almost flawless innings that couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Even on the final day the pitch stayed true, blunting the host bowlers’ effectiveness to a great extent while making Bengal batsmen’s job that much easier.

Even so Karnataka time and again managed to earn breakthroughs to raise genuine hopes of a win before a tenacious Sourasish Lahiri and Tiwary saw off the day with an unbroken 32-run association for the seventh wicket.

Despite heavy overnight showers, the match began on time and Karnataka made their intentions of going for victory clear by declaring their innings straightaway. Karnataka would have been off to a desired start had stumper CM Gautam grabbed Das’ offering off A Mithun. Bengal scorecard was reading just 12 then. Das and Dasgupta (55, 130b, 6x4) then put their foot down to frustrate Karnataka for almost 17 overs while raising 64 runs between them.

Sunil Joshi, on the cusp of becoming the highest Ranji wicket-taker for Karnataka at 436 as against BS Chandrashekhar’s 437, gave Robin Uthappa’s side the much-needed breakthrough by having Das caught at slip by B Akhil. Dasgupta brought all his experience to the fore and forged another lengthy partnership with Abhishek Jhunjhunwala as Bengal went into the lunch break at 97/1.

Post-lunch Akhil dismissed Jhunjhunwala off the first ball of the second session while Dasgupta was run out off a direct hit from A Aravind from mid-on. Wriddhiman Saha ate into 50 valuable minutes before falling to part-time spinner Amit Verma and coming into the last session at 161/4, Bengal had more chances of saving the match than Karnataka winning it. R Vinay Kumar then delivered two blows to get rid of Sayan Shekhar Mondal and Rohan Banerjee to reignite the hopes. Tiwary and Lahiri, however, extinguished them successfully, even seeing off the new-ball threat.     Karnataka will take on Maharashtra in their fourth-round match at Pune from November 24-27.