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Lacklustre Bengal crawl

New Delhi: The second day of the Ranji Trophy tie between Bengal and the Railways at the Jamia Millia University ground here on Saturday failed to provide much excitement.

After the hosts were restricted to 306, it was expected that the Bengal batsmen would take up the fight. But they went into their shells and the day ended at 65/1.

Coming in to bat almost immediately after lunch, when Sourashish Lahiri sent back the last two Railways batsmen within a span of nine balls, Bengal batted for 45 overs to score a meagre 65 runs.

Gitimoy Basu, who was earlier partly responsible for the run out of the other opener Arindam Das (26), was batting on 27 scored from 134 balls. Subhomoy Das faced 75 deliveries to score eight at the end of the day.

The possibility of the match ending in a draw is high now, and the team taking the first-inning lead would bag crucial three points. Bengal certainly need to bat cautiously, but the slow scoring might land them in trouble.

In the session after tea, Basu and Das managed just 28 runs in 28 overs. They were overcautious and played even the easiest of deliveries in the most guarded manner. There was not much fire in the home team’s bowling, but they still managed to send down 18 maiden overs.

For Basu and Das, the pre-lunch session on the third day would be the real test. In the first two days, bowlers received encouraging assistance from the pitch in the early hours. The Bengal duo would have to prove their mettle in the first two hours.

Bengal coach Ashok Malhotra later said a score of 100 for no loss, at the end of the day, would have left him a happier man. It could have been a reality but for a horrible misunderstanding in the middle between the Bengal openers.

It brought a premature end to Arindam’s innings, though Basu should take the blame for it.

Paul and Ashok Dinda were the most successful bowlers for Bengal with three wickets each.