| Arindam Das walks off the field after falling leg-before for 111 to Sunil Joshi at the Jadavpur University ground in Salt Lake on Sunday. Picture by Amit Datta
Calcutta: After a 199-run first-wicket stand by Arindam Das (111) and Deep Dasgupta (98), Bengal slumped into a bit of trouble at stumps. They finished with 275 for six on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy match against Karnataka at Jadavpur University's Salt Lake campus ground on Sunday.
If there was an element of surprise in the score, it paled into insignificance compared to what was in store in the morning for everybody present in the ground.
Team India captain Sourav Ganguly was provisionally included in the Bengal squad as the 17th member. And when he arrived at the ground little did anybody get an inkling of what was going to happen. As Sourav decided to play, he was included in the XI at the expense of Nikhil Haldipur.
'It was really a great boost for the team after a batsman of his calibre decided to play,' coach Karsan Ghavri said. Captain Rohan Gavaskar (who led the team despite Sourav's presence) echoed the same feeling.
Keeping in mind about the batting track and the presence of Sourav, Gavaskar didn't think twice before opting to bat on winning the toss.
Both openers, especially Arindam, launched into attack right from the word go. Dodda Ganesh and R. Vinay Kumar, Karnataka's opening bowlers, looked clueless in the face of their offensive. Particularly, an Arindam's on-drive off Ganesh towards the end of the first session was enough to make the opponents understand that he was out there to make a point.
It was really a flawless innings till the lunch, when Bengal were 105 for no loss.
Arindam, however, got a life when he was on 98. An uppish on-drive off Sunil Joshi was missed by Stuart Binny at mid-on. But that didn't force him into the shell. He earned his second Ranji Trophy century in style when he flicked Joshi to mid-wicket for a boundary. His hundred came off 202 balls and lasted 229 minutes. The first one came against Gujarat, last season.
Arindam's stay in the middle provided Bengal a solid foundation, which they failed to capitalise on in the final session. The centurion was ably assisted by unlucky Deep Dasgupta, who fell two short of his hundred.
Arindam hit 18 fours while Deep slammed 16 during his 290-minute stay.
Arindam departed in the 64th over. Deep stayed for 20 more overs. But after the former India wicketkeeper's departure, Devang Gandhi, Gavaskar and Laxmi Ratan Shukla fell in quick successions, thereby failing to reap the harvests provided to them by the openers.
Devang (16) was the second to go at the score of 226 when he missed the line of a fuller length Ganesh delivery, only to see his stumps uprooted. Deep followed Devang adding just nine runs to the board when he was judged leg before off Ganesh. Deep seemed unhappy with the decision.
Rohan, then, was adjudged leg before when he padded a ball offering no shot against R. Vinay Kumar for 6. Shukla tried one needless pull-shot which went straight to Binny at deep mid-wicket. Bengal lost three wickets for just one run at that point of time.