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November rain dashes hopes of Bengal win at Eden

Calcutta: The November rain seems set to play spoilsport with Bengal’s hopes of making a winning start to their Ranji Trophy season. Rain washed out more than three hours of play on Monday, Day III of their match against Rajasthan.

Only 53.2 overs had been bowled when the umpires asked for the covers to be brought on. Rajasthan had toiled to 200 for three by then with Nikhil Doru unbeaten on 77 and P. Krishnakumar on 57.

When play started in the morning under an overcast sky, the ball was doing a whole lot of things. Pacer Ranadeb Bose was again working up a lively pace and it seemed that a wicket was just round the corner. Both Doru and Krishnakumar missed the ball a number of times, but the luck didn’t favour the 23-year old Bose.

One thing that may go against both opening bowlers, Rana-deb and Shibshankar Paul is that they didn’t make the batsmen drive as much as they should have.

Bengal skipper Rohan Gavaskar also brought on the fourth medium-pacer Sanjeeb Sanyal quite early in the day. Though he was tight in line and length, he didn’t exactly look threatening.

However, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, coming as second change almost got Doru when he pitched one up and trapped him right in front of the stumps. Umpire M.R. Singh remained unmoved despite a huge shout.

Doru survived another vociferous appeal for a caught-behind off Utpal Chatterjee just after lunch. Umpire Sharma’s decision really put the Bengal boys off and the disappointment was quite evident in their body language.

Meanwhile, Rohan Gavaskar once again brought himself on from the Club House end and bowled six overs at a stretch. He is nothing more than a change bowler and in that spell, he looked anything but threatening.

On the other hand, the two undefeated batsmen reached their half-centuries, but Bengal coach Sambaran Banerjee seemed unperturbed by the blossoming 125-run partnership.

“If we can break through this partnership, the flood-gates may open up,” he said. But the steady rain seemed to have dampened Banerjee’s spirits as well. “This was our best chance to garner full points and it’ll be cruel if any more play is not possible.”

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