Chatterjee ton lifts Bengal

Last Updated : 08 October 2015, 19:22 IST

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On a day when the momentum shifted allegiance from one side to the other, both Karnataka and Bengal walked away with equal honours on the opening day of their Group ‘A’ match here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday.

Having inserted Bengal in after winning a good toss, Karnataka -- riding on the back of R Vinay Kumar’s twin strikes, a freak run-out and Manoj Tiwary’s miscued pull -- were all over the visitors like a bad rash before Sudip Chatterjee (145, 351m, 247b, 16x4) and Wriddhiman Saha (90, 200m, 132b, 10x4, 1x6) staged a spectacular recovery with a counter-attacking partnership.

The left-right combination, seemingly oblivious to the mini-carnage around them, took the attack to the opposition and reaped handsome benefits. Their 173-run stand for the fifth wicket helped Bengal recover from a precarious 41/4 and finish the day on a much more encouraging 312 for nine in 88 overs. While Bengal would be glad with their fightback, Karnataka too wouldn’t too unhappy after plucking four wickets in an extended final session.

If Vinay (3/80) did the damage up front, Sharath (3/47), who worked up good speed and generated disconcerting bounce every now and then, pulled things back for the hosts with a double strike, including that of Chatterjee, towards the end of the day’s play.

While the first session belonged primarily to the hosts, the middle session was dominated by Bengal, with Chatterjee and Saha keeping the Karnataka attack at bay. They not only denied the home bowlers any success for nearly 49 overs spread over almost three and half hours, but managed to score at a fair clip.

Vinay was right on the money on a greenish surface. He had opener Abhishek Das nick one to CM Gautam at first slip with a delivery that angled away from him. After three balls, it was almost an action replay – debutant Naved Ahmed was a trifle late in taking his bat away from the ball that was leaving him. Robin Uthappa, doing the wicket-keeping job in this match, completed a simple catch.

Two overs later, Sreevats Goswami was run out in strange fashion. Skipper Tiwary soon top-edged a pull off HS Sharath and was caught at square-leg to leave the visiting team in dire straits. Chatterjee and Saha, however, fought their way out of trouble with as much grit as flair. Saha broke the shackles with a six and four off a Shreyas Gopal’s over and Chatterjee, Bengal’s highest run-getter last season, was quick to take the cue.

With the early assistance for the pacers wearing off and spinners – Shreyas Gopal and J Suchith – looking ineffective, Sudip and Saha began to assert themselves. Fortune did favour them as edges fell short of catchers and inside-edges went millimetres past the stumps but it didn’t stop them from going for their strokes.

Vinay used his bowlers in short bursts and brought on part-timers in a desperate measure to separate the two. The breakthrough finally came in what would have been the final over before tea-break. Saha, who seemed be having answers for every question posed to him, managed a feather off Shreyas’ googly down the leg for Uthappa to complete a smart catch. Once Saha was gone, Karnataka regained their mojo and bowled themselves back in the game, taking three wickets off the new ball though A Mithun left them anxious once again by leaving the field with a suspected calf strain.

Published 08 October 2015, 19:22 IST

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