It was a gentle flick off the pads but Sudip Chatterjee had managed to get enough bat on it to get the ball to race towards deep square-leg for a boundary to ensure his first maiden first-class hundred. The big-day had finally dawned for the 23-year-old batsman when he could cross those nervous 90s without stumbling, like he had so many times in his short career and get that coveted three-figure mark. Little did he know that drama lurked devilishly round the corner against Baroda.
Upon reaching his first ton in Ranji for Bengal at the Reliance Ground, Chatterjee wasn’t exactly animated despite reaching the milestone and he took his time to score his runs, playing shots all across the field.
From resuming on 91 to reaching 191, Sudip later admitted that tried his best to not look at the scoreboard. Meanwhile, as he kept looking for bad balls to score off, he was involved in two big partnerships of 156 runs for fifth wicket with Shreevats Goswami and later with Bengal captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla to enable their side to post 455 runs on board.
That 90s show
Sudip had in fact been pretty pleased with himself at the sheer feat of not looking at the scoreboard from 91 to 191 after having twice botched his chances in 90s twice this season. He had waded past the nerves of the 90s, but soon found himself quite unprepared to deal with the same stress of the 190s, when that feeling returned to haunt him a 100 runs later.
After facing nearly 300 balls which had 21 fours, Sudip went forward to medium-pacer Gagandeep Singh’s seemingly harmless delivery, but his wretched luck saw the ball kiss his bat’s blade and wicket-keeper Pinal Shah took a straight forward catch ending his innings at a taunting 191.
However, Sudip won’t mind this time, since it was his first big score in domestic cricket. “The only time I looked at the score was when I reached 191, now I feel I shouldn’t have! I have been getting out in 90s since junior cricket and those nervous 90s moments are still chasing me. I had told myself that I will start my day from zero but I didn’t know, I will be out again on 191,” he quipped.
The double hundred might’ve eluded him but his score certainly gave a big boost to his side as Bengal scored 455. While his first 100 came from 194 balls, Sudip took another 109 to score the rest of 91.
For Baroda their young left-arm spinner Swapnil finished with a five wicket-haul, his second in first-class cricket. However, at stumps, Baroda were 86 for 3 with the top order back in the pavilion without much. Kedhar Devdhar and Yousuf Pathan were batting on 32 and 0 respectively.
Brief Scores: Bengal 455 (Sudeep Chatterjee 192, Shreevats Goswami 86; Swapnil Singh 5-99); Baroda 85/3 (Kedar Devdhar (32 not out); LR Shukla 2-4, VP Singh 1-39).