The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Devang, Amitava dominate Day I

Calcutta, Nov. 9: Devang Gandhi has grown a liking for the Rajasthan bowling. The former India opener followed up his century last season in Jaipur with another three-figure knock (138) Saturday, this time at home.

His tenth Ranji century helped Bengal close Day One of the group A match at a commanding 277 for three. Devang was ably supported by young opener Amitava Chakraborty (90) and the two put on 230 for the second wicket.

At stumps, Rohan Gavaskar was unbeaten on 19 with Subhamoy Das keeping him company on nine.

BCCI’s desire to have Ranji matches on grassy tracks may be fulfilled this season, if the Eden pitch was any indicator. Not a blade of grass that was there on Friday was shaved off and Rajasthan captain P. Krishnakumar didn’t think twice before asking the hosts to bat first.

Though the three-men pace-attack of Rajasthan looked quite ordinary, the pitch had enough in it to test the openers.

Deep Dasgupta failed to give the selectors a reminder before the Test squad for the New Zealand tour is picked. He was adjudged caught at third slip off Sumit Mathur for eight.

The Bengal camp was distinctly displeased with the Deep decision and it was learnt that the Rohan will register a ‘protest’ in the captain’s report.

Devang and Amitava took charge thereafter. The former was the aggressor, while Amitava played the sheet anchor to hold one end up.

A good opener is known for his ability to leave balls outside the off stump, and Amitava seems to have that quality. The opener was beaten a few times, but he had the guts to stick it out in the middle. Devang’s innings was quite a revelation. He played some attractive shots and the nine boundaries he hit were all sweetly timed.

Just when it seemed that the duo will remain unconquered for the day, Devang nicked one to wicketkeeper Rohit Jhalani off medium-pacer Mathur.

Amitava, who looked a model of concentration till then, lost his head immediately and fell in the next over. After fishing at one outside the off stump, he spooned the next ball to Nikhil Doru at point off Kishen Chowdhury.

With two new men at the crease and the light deteriorating at the Eden, the otherwise mediocre Rajasthan attack started looking a bit threatening. But Rohan, after spending a few shaky moments, played a couple of sparkling drives.

The new ball is already due and should be taken first thing Sunday morning. That would test the Bengal middle-order and coach Sambaran Banerjee made it clear that nothing short of 450 will be safe.

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