Given that they came into this clash against Tamil Nadu without great expectations, Bengal did well with their modest batting resources on Day 1 to reach 292 for five.
They won an important toss on a good batting wicket and despite losing both openers before lunch, reached a respectable position thanks to Manoj Tiwary’s unbeaten 134 and the partnerships he shared with Wriddhiman Saha and Dibyendu Chakraborty.
The attack posed no threat once the new ball lost shine and that Bengal might still think they lost at least a wicket too many had a lot to do with two freak dismissals.
Opener Rohan Banerjee had settled down nicely before Saha’s stiff drive dislodged the bells at the non-striker’s end after being deflected off the bowler’s hand and caught him short of the crease.
Coming in at 45 for two, Tiwary steadied the innings with a stand of 79 with Saha and after the quick dismissals of the latter and Shukla, put on 127 for the fifth wicket with Chakraborty. Tiwary was severe against the spinners and repeatedly swept them through the arc between deep square-leg and deep fine-leg.
Tamil Nadu skipper Karthik rotated his bowlers in short spells, but there was no purchase for them on a pitch which has seen some big totals this season.
With the kind of batting his team possesses, Karthik will still very much fancy TN’s chances if they can keep Bengal below 400.
Scores-Bengal 1st inn: R. Banerjee run out 24, A. Das lbw Ganapathy 7, W. Saha lbw Ganapathy 53, M. Tiwary batting 134, L. Shukla c Karthik b Ashwin 1, D. Chakraborty c C. Suresh b Ashwin 57, A. Chowdhury batting 7; Extras (b 4, lb 2, nb 3) 9; Total (5 wkts) 292. FoW: 1/20, 2/45, 3/124, 4/131, 5/258; Bowling: Balaji 19-4-49-0, Amarnath 21-3-62-0, Ganapathy 14-3-29-2, Ashwin 20-0-85-2, C. Suresh 13-2-46-0, Vidyut 1-0-5-0, Suresh Kumar 2-0-10-0