Chakraborty, Ganguly keep Bengal in hunt

December 18th, 2008 - 9:19 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) Playing in his only second first-class match Dibendu Chakraborty grew in confidence in the company of Sourav Ganguly and took Bengal to a comfortable 257 for five in the first innings against Goa on the first day of the Ranji Trophy Plate semi-final here Thursday.At the close of play, Chakraborty was batting 75, his second consecutive half-century, and Ganguly 69 and together they stitched an unbroken 130-run partnership for the sixth wicket to resurrect the innings that wore a tattered look after a brilliant spell by medium pacer Saurabh Bandekar (4-51) at the Karnail Singh Stadium.

Former India captain Ganguly, who retired from international cricket last month, is playing his last first-class match to help 2006 elite group finalists Bengal to get back into the Super Division. A sizeable crowd gathered at the stadium to have a look at Ganguly’s last outing in the white dress. A win will help Bengal qualify for the elite group but even if they qualify for the final, Ganguly will not play.

Put into bat first, Bengal suffered the first jolt in the fourth over when Robin D’Souza rattled Avik Chowdhury’s (2)stumps with just five runs on board. But Anustup Mazumdar (39) and Wriddhiman Saha (54) played sensibly and added 96-runs for the second wicket as Bengal took lunch at 101/1.

Disaster struck for Bengal in the very first over after lunch when Saha failed to adjust to Bandekar’s late swing and edged to wicketkeeper Ajay Ratra. Manoj Tiwari’s woeful form continued and two balls later he walked back to the pavilion with a careless shot off Bandekar caught by Ratra as Bengal slumped to101/3.

Bandekar also picked up Mazumdar and captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla (10) in quick successions to leave Bengal reeling at 127/4.

With Bandekar in the middle of an excellent spell, Ganguly and Chakraborty decided to slow down the pace of the game. Then on, both the batsmen played some percentage cricket to frustrate the inexperienced Goan attack. Chakraborty looked jittery at the start but under Ganguly grew in confidence as the innings progressed.

Both the players didn’t take any risk and waited for the lose deliveries to play their shots. The 26-year-old Chakraborty timed well and some crisp drives through the covers won him accolades from Ganguly. Chakraborty’s 146-ball inning was studded with 11 boundaries. The only blemish in his innings was a mistimed sweep that was dropped by the square-leg fielder but he capitalised on the opportunity to build the innings.

Ganguly on the other end relied mostly on singles but as the day progresses looked in his element. He pulled a couple of deliveries for four and then came dancing down the track, in his signature style, to hit spinner Ryan Ninan for a huge six that delighted the crowd.

For the youngster it was a huge opportunity playing alongside India’s most successful Test captain.

“For me it was a great opportunity playing with Dada. I won’t get such chance in future. This is just my second match and I was a bit nervous. But we spoke to each other a lot during the innings and that gave me the confidence,” said Chakraborty.

Brief scores: Bengal 287/5 in 90 overs (Dibendu Chakraborty 75 batting, Sourav Ganguly 69 batting, Wriddhiman Saha 54; Saurabh Bandekar 4/51).

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