The Telegraph
Sunday , December 16 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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18 wickets fall on Day I

Veer Pratap Singh

Calcutta: A few minutes before the start of the opening day’s play, at the Eden, on Saturday, Bengal captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla prayed for a couple of minutes.

A few minutes after lunch, it seemed that Shukla’s prayers have been answered as Bengal wrapped up Hyderabad’s innings for 115 .

However, Bengal batsmen failed to show character on the green top as they undid all the good work done by their bowlers to find themselves reeling at 79 for eight.

Opener Arindam Das was batting on 37 (110b, 4x4) along with Shami Ahmed who is yet to open his account. It will definitely take some gritty batting from the remaining players to ensure that the hosts overcome 36-run deficit and take first innings lead.

Pacer Ashish Reddy was the wrecker-in-chief for Hyderabad scalping five. He got able support from left-arm seamer Anwar Ahmed, who took three.

After being put into bat, Hyderabad batsmen could not do much against the Bengal bowlers, who vindicated their captain’s decision by putting in a disciplined performance.

Shami was the most impressive of the lot returning with figures of 12.1-3-36-4.

Veer Pratap Singh accounted for three other top-order batsmen. Shukla and Sayan Sekhar Mondal also chipped in.

With the primary target of bowling out the opponents for a paltry total achieved, it was thought that Bengal batsmen will aplly themselves well to post a good total.

But old habits die hard. The hosts played atrocious shots against a wayward Hyderabad bowling line-up. Bengal though started their innings on a positive note.

Despite losing opener Rohan Banerjee in the seventh over, Arindam and Sudip Chatterjee (20) took the score to 37 at tea. The Great Bengal Parade began soon. They lost seven wickets in 15.5 overs in a space of 97 minutes!

Ashish gave the breakthrough when Sudip was caught by Paramveer Singh at second slip while chasing an outswinger.

Anwar got rid of Abhishek Jhunjhunwala with a peach of a delivery. The right-hander was done in by a ball which pitched in line before making a late away movement.

Wriddhiman Saha hit a superb cover-drive before edging the next one to wicket-keeper Kolla Sumanth off Anwar.

With two wickets in two overs, Anwar was charged up. And he castled Debabrata Das (0) in his next over.

Shukla was the next batsman to be dismissed when he misjudged the pace of the ball to give an easy catch to Parth Jhala at cover.

Shukla was shocked. So was his team.