New Delhi, Dec 15 : Poor shot selection by top-order batsmen saw Bengal finish their first innings at 201 against Railways on the first day of their final group league Ranji Trophy encounter, at the Karnail Singh Stadium here today.
Considering the nature of the pitch, the total may prove to be a decent one if Bengal spinners Sourashis Lahiri and Iresh Saxena can hit the right areas tomorrow like Murali Kartik (2/49) and medium pacer Anureet Singh (3/48) did for the hosts.
Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary won the toss and rightly elected to bat on wicket where the ball kept low at times.
However, none of the top-order batsmen including veteran Sourav Ganguly, were dismissed due to the tricky nature of the pitch. It was all about horrible shot selection when they needed to be careful keeping the nature of the track in mind.
Ganguly's much-anticipated return to first-class cricket was absolutely scratchy as he barely moved his feet during his 43-minute stay at the wicket. He was done in by his former KKR teammate Anureet Singh whose delivery kept low and Ganguly was late in bringing his bat down. The result was an inside edge onto the off-stump.
If Ganguly was rusty, skipper Tiwary (42, 133 balls, 4x4) looked solid and played patiently till he gave left-arm spinner Nilesh Chauhan the charge. Tiwary went inside out trying to hoist over long-on but offered the simplest of catches to Kartik at mid-on.
It was a track where batting was difficult considering the variable bounce and the three Railways spinners Karthik, Chauhan and leggie Karan Sharma made life even more difficult for Bengal batsmen by pitching it on the rough.
Most of the Bengal batsmen did the tough job of surviving the initial period only to throw it when they looked set.
Senior opener Arindam Das (21) played out the first hour but needlessly went for a slog sweep off Kartik only to hole out at short fine leg. Dibyendu Chakraborty couldn't check his drive and was caught in the covers off Sanjay Bangar. Anushtup Mazumdar chased a wide delivery to edge it into Mahesh Rawat's gloves.
Young Gitimoy Basu (58, 9x4) who was flown in last night as Shreevats Goswami's replacement, played a gutsy innings, although, he was dropped twice in the slip cordon.
Basu not only scored his maiden half century in first-class cricket but also applied himself after those two reprieve. It was his inexperience that saw him get out trying to sweep Sharma.
While the first session saw a lot of positive intent from Bengal batsmen as they went into lunch at 97 for two, they were strangely subdued in the remaining two sessions.
Brief score: Bengal 1st innings 201 all out (Gitimoy Basu 58, Manoj Tiwary 42; Anureet Singh 3/48) vs Railways. PTI