Abhishek Raman’s second ton in row takes Bengal to 241/4 against Andhra on Day 1
Left-handed opener Abhishek Raman held the Bengal innings together with a gritty unbeaten 110, taking the hosts to 241 for four against Andhra on day one of their Elite group A Ranji trophy fixture in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Raman survived some anxious moments especially in the 90s before pulling KV Sasikanth over square leg to score his second successive century.
Raman, who scored 110 in Bengal’s win over Kerala in their previous match, got good support from former skipper Manoj Tiwary as they revived the innings in the post-lunch session after being reduced to 99 for two.
While Raman batted through the day, facing 255 balls, Tiwary too was at his fluent best, striking a six and six fours. They added quick 87 runs for the third wicket before Tiwary was done in by a short one from CV Stephen, the most impressive Andhra bowler.
Andhra set Tiwary up well with short-pitched deliveries as he top-edged one to get out for 46. “I’m sure he will not sleep well tonight. He could have converted it into a big one,” Bengal coach Arun Lal said of Tiwary’s dismissal.
“It was a tactic as they bowled him short without a slip. He (Tiwary) played well and his contribution with Raman took the team forward. He’s not the player to leave it at 46.” The visitors suffered a setback when left-arm spinner G Manish dislocated his shoulder after falling awkwardly while fielding and was ruled out of the match.
Bengal had their backs to the wall after their skipper and ace batsman Abhimanyu Easwaran (6) got out cheaply edging one behind the stumps inside the first hour after Andhra won a good toss under hazy conditions.
Koushik Ghosh (37) got a start but was trapped by off-spinner Shoaib Khan while number Sudip Chatterjee fell cheaply for 18.
As fortune favours the brave, Raman stayed on and survived a stumping on 93 and thereafter a catch fell short of short midwicket fielder before he finally reached his fourth Ranji Trophy century.
Raman who had a fine 2017-18 having scored two centuries including his careerbest 176 against Himachal Pradesh did not get a triple last season.
“I didn’t bat well in the post-tea session. Four times, I was close to getting out in 90s, so I was a bit of nervous. I just wanted to clear the square leg fielder and got a fine timing to clear the rope,” Raman said.
“We will look to negate the new ball and then assess the situation,” he said about their strategy.
Showering praise on Raman, Bengal coach Lal said: “Look at the grit of Raman... If he had fallen, we may well have been eight-nine down today. It’s been a terrific performance.
“Abhimanyu Easwaran didn’t get runs but yet we are there sitting pretty at 241/4. We have the belief to win this game. We will control the game if we see through the first hour tomorrow,” Lal concluded.