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Super Manoj stands tall amid ruins

Bengal were bowled out for a paltry 138 before Punjab reached 93/3 at stumps

By TT Bureau in Calcutta

  • Published 13.02.20, 2:17 AM
  • Updated 13.02.20, 3:02 AM
Shahbaz Ahmed
Shahbaz Ahmed (PTI Photo)

The Patiala pitch is certainly difficult to bat on. But barring former captain Manoj Tiwary, Bengal batsmen came a cropper and gave Punjab the edge on Day I of the Ranji Trophy Group A clash at the Dhruv Pandove Stadium.

Electing to bat on a dustbowl, Bengal were bowled out for a paltry 138 before Punjab reached 93/3 at stumps.

Tiwary showed the right application during his 73-run knock that also came at a healthy strike rate. But the top order bungled once again with captain Abhimanyu Easwaran failing to open his account.

Senior pro Anustup Majumdar and newest sensation Shahbaz Ahmed also departed for nought, which made matters worse for Bengal.

Apart from Tiwary, only three others managed to reach double-digit scores — Abhishek Raman (14), Arnab Nandi (11) and Sreevats Goswami (19).

Agreed, the pitch is a matter of huge concern for batters. But if Tiwary can get 70-odd on such a track, is it not possible for the other established batsmen in the team to try and get at least half of what he scored?

Besides, spinner all-rounder Nandi was all of a sudden promoted to No. 4 in the order, ahead of even Tiwary. Not that it affected Tiwary’s batting, but the move was indeed baffling. All said and done, Bengal’s batting line-up does have many questions to answer.

“The wicket was challenging and it was turning. The Punjab pacers bowled well in the morning… Two more good partnerships with me would’ve been good for our innings,” Tiwary said later.

“There was a little bit moisture on the wicket, but we did not bat well today. Our top order has not scored much, which obviously affected our innings.

“Manoj batted well and thanks to him, we have put up that score,” coach Arun Lal admitted.

For the hosts, left-arm spinner Vinay Choudhary, who has been amongst wickets lately, was the most successful bowler with figures of six for 54.