CHENNAI: The going has been slow in the Ranji Trophy final in Rajkot. Even on the third day, runs trickled, shots were few and far between, and stroke-making remained a challenge. Even as a debate raged on whether this pitch is fit for a match of such stature, Saurashtra took a slender advantage over Bengal.
Bengal are 134/3 in reply to Saurashtra’s 425. On paper, the visiting side are in with a chance. But in a game that has seen the teams score at 2.35 per over, getting those 292 runs is going to be excruciating. Saurashtra will be happy to have taken the wicket of Manoj Tiwary, who is among the best players in the country on slow wickets.
Sudip Chatterjee was unbeaten on 47 off 145. Saurashtra almost put a full stop to the scoring after Tiwary’s departure. The last 12.4 overs of the day saw just 10 runs. Promoted to No 5 ahead of Anustup Majumdar, Wriddhiman Saha was unbeaten on four off 43.
Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) reacted to Bengal coach Arun Lal’s remark that the pitch is not fit for a five-dayer. “It may not have had extra bounce which Bengal were looking for, but that does not make it poor. It is a hasty and poor judgment by their coach. It is the same for both teams, prepared under BCCI’s neutral curator,” said SCA head curator Mahendra Rajdev in a release, which mentioned that at the time of sending it, Saurashtra were 416/9.Lal stuck to his stand, saying he’d expressed his opinion. Brief scores: Saurashtra 425 (Akash 4/98) vs Bengal 134/3 (Sudip 47 n.o).