Railways played five spinners and together they bowled 73.3 overs on the first day of this Ranji Trophy Group A fixture here at Eden Gardens on Thursday. Anureet Singh was the lone fast bowler in the side and accounted for 21 overs. He, however, made the biggest impact with four wickets for 45 runs on a pitch that offered very little to the seamers.
Anureet bowled only four overs in his first spell. He put in a bigger shift – 10 overs — after lunch, taking Abhimanyu Easwarn’s wicket. His final spell was pivotal which read: 5-2-13-3. From 255 for five at one stage, Bengal folded up for 268.
Railways maintained an outstanding over- rate, bowling 94.3 overs in six hours. But they delayed a bit in taking the second new ball. Anureet returned for his final spell with the old ball, bowled a slower delivery to get rid of a well-set Manoj Tiwary — caught at cover by Ashish Yadav — and then took the second new ball. It was the 92nd over of the innings. A vicious in-swinger followed that castled Saurasish Lahiri. Amit Banerjee, who was using the long handle, was taken care of in the next over with an outswinger. Ahead of this game, Railways captain Mahesh Rawat described Anureet as the team’s “go-to man”, conditions notwithstanding. With chief selector Sandeep Patil in attendance, the 27-year-old lived up to the billing.
“The pitch is hard, so I tried to hit the deck. Bowling the right line was the key here. Perhaps we would have been better off with another fast bowler. But then, it was team management’s decision (to bank on spin). Bengal, too, have packed their side with spinners. The pitch is expected to take turn as the match progresses. We’ve to dig in our heels,” Anureet said.
The hosts were done in by two major collapses. They lost four wickets for eight runs inside 31 balls post lunch. It came on the heels of a 95-run second wicket partnership between Easwaran (57) and Sudip Chatterjee (44).
The former opened the face of the bat to an Anureet outswinger and was caught at second slip by Nitin Bhille.
Brief scores: Bengal 268 (Manoj Tiwary 68, Anureet Singh 4/45) vs Railways.