Bengal stay afloat with gritty effort

Bengal stay afloat with gritty effort

 Skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla’s valiant unbeaten half-century helped Bengal stage a remarkable fight-back against Railways in their controversy-marred Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the Eden Gardens here on Friday.

Shukla with his 78-ball 63 (8x4, 1x6) stole the show as he led the recovery after Bengal were reduced to 40 for four.

Shukla found a perfect ally in cool-headed reserve Test specialist Wriddhiman Saha, who played a patient unbeaten knock of 31 from 105 balls (3x4) for the undefeated 93-run stand for the fifth wicket with the skipper as Bengal led by 136 runs with six wickets in hand on the third day.

Only 76.3 overs were possible in the day, including 51 in Bengal’s second innings, something that sums up the time lost in the middle with Kartik engaging in a mind games and apparent sledging. Pacer Ashoke Dinda dismissed Arindam Ghosh for 97 (13x4) en route his 6/105 to give hosts a slender three-run lead, which led to wild celebration in the Bengal camp. The Bengal pacer was lifted on shoulders by his teammates with loud cheers from the fans just before lunch. But Bengal’s joy was shortlived as in no time their scorecard read 40/4 in 21.5 overs with Anureet Singh scalping Abhimanyu Eas-waran (0), Subhomoy Das (19) and Sudip Chatterjee (8).

Kartik warned

Veteran spinner and Railways captain Murali Kartik was on Friday embroiled in a controversy once again after he was warned by the umpires for some “issues” with the ball.  Match referee Rajendra Jadeja said that he has received a report from the umpires who changed the ball after warning Kartik. “Yes I’ve received a report from the umpires who thought there were some issues with the ball and they warned the bowling team captain (Kartik) and the ball was changed,” Jadeja said.

If such an incident further occurs then it would be case of ball tampering, Jadeja said. “The ball tampering comes in the Level 2.9 offence and as we cannot say who has done it, it’s the captain who is imposed a fine in the range of 50 to 100 per cent of the match fee,” he added. A decision on whether to ban a player is taken by the Board’s disciplinary committee, Jadeja said. Bengal team manager Debabrata Das said his side noticed the incident just after lunch when Abhimanyu Easwaran was castled by Anureet Singh for a golden duck in the fifth over off a ball that “reverse swung”.

Leveling ball tampering charges against Kartik and pacer Anureet, he said: “The ball started reversing from the fourth over which was just impossible. They were pricking the ball and coach Ashok Malhotra and I complained this to the Match Referee.” He further said umpire Suresh Shastri at the High Court end warned Kartik and changed the ball at the drinks break in the second session when Bengal were 15/2 in 14 overs. Kartik was seen vigorously rubbing the ball on back side of left thigh and apparently shouting something to the batsmen. There was a delay for more than five minutes as both the umpires summoned Kartik to warn against some “issues” with the ball. Shouting slogans of ‘go back Kartik’, fans too hurled choicest of expletives against Kartik. 

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