The inability of second rung of domestic batsmen to cope with movement on a green top came to the fore once again as the Ranji Trophy encounter between Bengal and Baroda saw as many 23 wickets falling on first day.
After Bengal skittled out Baroda for a meagre 97 riding on Ashok Dinda’s 6 for 45, little did they know what awaited them in second session.
Young seamer Atit Seth (7/36) wreaked havoc as he blew away the Bengal top order who found swing and seam movement difficult to handle being bundled out for 76.
Such was the abysmal performance of Bengal batsmen that only Sudip Chatterjee (37) managed a respectable score with only Sayan Sekhar Mondal (13) being the other batsman to reach double figures. Nine other Bengal players managed only 26 runs between them.
With a slender lead of 21 runs, Baroda showed attacking intent in second innings reaching 63 for 3 with an overall lead of 84 runs.
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The first innings lead is inconsequential in this match as there will certainly be an outright result but Baroda have their nose ahead.
In the morning, Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary won a good toss and rightly opted to bowl. Dinda brushed aside off field controversies to grab his 21st five-wicket haul in first class cricket.
He was ably supported by Mukesh Kumar (3/39) and Amit Kuila (1/12). Most of the dismissals were either behind the stumps in slip cordon or let before when the ball moved off the pitch. Aditya Waghmode was top scorer for Baroda with 17.
The ineptness was evident when Deepak Hooda who scored 293 at Kotla against Punjab didn’t have the technique to cope with swinging deliveries of Kumar, who got the ball to cut both ways.
Dinda as usual hit the deck hard and got sufficient inward movement. However a thick layer of grass must have intimidated the Bengal youngsters as two first class match old Atit made them look like novices.
Only Sudip showed some composure playing 62 balls but likes Abhimanyu Easwaran was beaten by movement, so was skipper Tiwary, whose poor footwork during initial part saw him edge one to Pinal Shah behind stumps.
The extra grass layer meant appreciable movement off the pitch which Bengal players didn’t have the wherewithal to cope. A lead of 180 plus will certainly put Bengal in trouble if pitch doesn’t wear out.
Brief Scores: Baroda 97 (Ashok Dinda 6/45) and 63/3 (Kedar Devdhar 34 No, Mukesh Kumar 2/22)
Bengal 1st innings 76 (Atit Seth 7/36).