Sourav Ganguly was shaking his head in desperation after getting out to Piyush Chawla just before tea break. His disappointment was justified as his departure left Bengal to crash to their lowest first innings total of the season so far — 193.
The outcome was as per the expectations of Uttar Pradesh skipper Mohammad Kaif, who chose to field on a sporting wicket at Green Park Stadium on the opening day.
With speedster Praveen Kumar sending back experienced opener Deep Dasgupta for a duck on the fifth ball of the day, the other Bengal batsmen, except for opener Arindam Das and Ganguly, found things tough.
Despite facing a volley of bouncers from Praveen, the right-handed Das didn’t lose patience and continued to bat on with ones and twos while seeing Wriddhiman Saha and Manoj Tiwary depart in quick succession. Das seemed to know how important his stay in the middle was and kept his cool. After being joined by Ganguly, they took the score to 47 for three at lunch in 27 overs.
They stitched together 81 runs for the fourth-wicket before Das’s patient innings of 46 (150b, 5x4) came to an end off Chawla.
Ganguly, who had begun with a polished cover drive off R.P. Singh, was in his elements after the break. He pulled, drove and cut Praveen, RP and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar before hitting a six off Praveen Gupta. But he couldn’t read a Chawla flipper. His 66-run knock contained nine fours and a six.
There were nine overs left then when UP began the chase, but it was cut short just after four balls with bad light forcing the umpires to call off the match for the day.