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Bengal lower order caves in

Calcutta: Itís a long time since Bengal has seen a fast bowler working up real pace and putting the opposition on the backfoot. Thus, a five-over spell from comeback man Ranadeb Bose just before tea on a murky Sunday afternoon came as a breath of fresh air. Two quick wickets, and Rajasthan were on the backfoot.

The visitors were 94 for three at close on Day II after Bengal had stretched their first innings to 413.

Ranadeb hardly looked potent in the first four overs of his spell from the Club House end. On changing ends, he got the breeze in his favour and had the ball swinging both ways.

He got Anshu Jain to nick one that held its line and Amitava Chakraborty took a great catch at second slip diving to his left. The very next ball, Ranadebís inswinger caught Rahul Kanwat plumb in front of the stumps.

Had lady luck smiled his way, the lanky right-arm pacer could have ended with the wickets of Nikhil Doru and dangerman Gagan Khoda as well.

Khoda didnít last long, edging an excellent doosra from off-spinner Sourashish Lahiri into the safe hands of Deep Dasgupta.

The former India íkeeper was a picture of confidence behind the stumps and got behind the ball very well. He was particularly impressive keeping to Sourashish and Utpal Chatterjee on a pitch affording a bit of turn.

A couple of decisions by captain Rohan Gavaskar were surprising. Firstly, he introduced in-form off-spinner Sourashish after 25 overs. Sourashish struck immediately, removing Khoda in his first over.

And just as the offie looked to get into the rhythm, Rohan took him off and brought himself on. Though only one over could be bowled in the fading light, the decision raised many an eyebrow.

But the real disappointment of the day was Bengalís batting in the first session. Though both overnight not-out batsmen Subhamoy Das and Rohan got half-centuries, they were not in their best form.

Subhamoy left a couple of balls exposing his off stump and had the deliveries done a little more, the promising right-hander could have been left embarrassed. He did play some classy shots, but itís time he turns the fifties into big hundreds.

Rohan, after being dropped once, fended at a rising ball to be caught-behind off Krishnakumar. He, however, didnít look satisfied and waited for a few moments before starting the long walk back.

Rajasthan could have restricted Bengal to a lower score had Krishnakumar not delayed taking the new ball till the 96th over. It was a weird decision.

Wickets fell like nine pins once the new ball was claimed. Allrounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla was left stranded on 27 as the last five Bengal wickets fell for 54.

Coach Sambaran Banerjee stressed on the need of an outright victory. ďWith teams like Mumbai doing so badly, it has become mandatory to get full points in home matches,Ē he said.

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