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Bengal squeeze Chhattisgarh with bat and ball

15th October 2017
Bengal further tightened the screws on Chhattisgarh when they piled up a mammoth 529 for seven declared thanks to the second successive ton from Sudip Chatterjee and then came out firing on all cylinders reducing the hosts to 80 for 5 at the end of the second day’s play in Raipur.
Beginning the day at 238 for 2, Bengal lost Manoj Tiwary and Wriddhiman Saha just when they looked to flourish, but Sudip carried his bat with spunk as he hit his second ton in as many matches in Ranji this season. Sudip has been knocking at the doors for an India call-up for some time now, but a poor run of form towards the end of the last season had just slowed the momentum. But he showed no rustiness or inertia in his stroke play as he made a stylish 118 off 191 balls with 12 boundaries. In fact his batting showed his flamboyance and controlled aggression at the same time.
“It is never easy to get a century. And to get it back to back after the poor run of form is special to me. I was getting starts and not converting them. I decided to stick to my task and have been making sure there is no lapse in concentration,” Sudip said.
He also praised Anustup and Amit for the brisk scoring down the order that set the match up perfectly. “Shami and Dinda (da) bowled really well they lured the batsman into making mistakes. And Gani bowled a gem of a delivery that bowled Manoj Singh. He had no clue whatsoever. We hope to enforce follow-on early tomorrow,” he added.

As Sudip stated the turning point of the game was a 120 run seventh wicket partnership set up by Anustup Mazumdar and B Amit off just 152 balls to take Bengal past the 500 mark with daylight left to bowl. Anustup’s unbeaten 70 came off 88 balls with nine hits to the fence and one over it, while B Amit was snapped up by S A Singh after he completed his 50 off just 66 balls and eight perfectly placed boundaries.
When Bengal came out to bowl they showed purpose and intent as Ashoke Dinda and Mohammad Shami both made the cherry trouble the rival batsmen. By the time Amir Gani came in as first change for Dinda, the former had removed Jatin Saxena and A N Khare. His new ball partner Shami was equally menacing getting S Gupta and skipper Mohammed Kaif cheaply. Gani also got among wickets reducing the hosts to 80 for 5. The only bright spot for Chhattisgarh was Asutosh Singh who completed his half century (51) and remained unbeaten at stumps.
With 449 runs behind, Chhattisgarh was looking down the barrel and only a miracle could turn the tide in their favour. Otherwise Bengal looked set to bag all 6 points from this tie.

Arindam Basu