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Tiwary and Dinda come good for Bengal

Shamik Chakrabarty

Posted: Nov 19, 2012 at 0222 hrs IST

Kolkata: Manoj Tiwary's celebration was understated after he reached his 17th first-class hundred, with a glance off Rush Kalaria to the fine-leg fence. The team’s dress designer had passed away in a road accident on Saturday night and the Bengal players had decided not to celebrate on the field.

There was one more reason, however, behind Tiwary’s efforts to play down the knock — an important one in the context of the game, as Bengal had three points all but in the bag after making 220/4 in reply to Gujarat's 260 all out on the second day at Eden Gardens.

It was because captain Tiwary had set his aim higher — on an outright win with perhaps a bonus point — which was why he thought his 102 unbeaten was still a job not quite done.

"I was rather relieved to score this century. But I need to score a big one, because we want to win this match outright," he said after the day’s play.

The Bengal captain was criticised for wasting his starts in the first two matches — especially the way he got out in the second innings against Punjab in the last game as the team suffered an innings defeat. Not that he was batting badly. But expectations were high after he scored a 93 against England in the tour game.

Tiwary walked in when Bengal were 19/2, with both the openers dismissed. He was scratchy in the beginning. An inside edge off Kushang Patel missed the leg stump when he was on one. He was lucky again when on 27, a catch flew between the first and second slips.

It was a difficult period but Subhomoy Das (75), who was batting beautifully, took the pressure off his captain and allowed him to get into the groove. Das played some gorgeous shots on the off side but got out, top-edging an attempted hook off Kalaria. After the 103-run partnership with Das ended, Tiwary took charge and together with Wriddhiman Saha, who made a 94-ball 27, took Bengal towards safety.

Saha, promoted to No. 5, didn’t time the ball well at all, but he didn't throw his wicket away either. He was set up by Kalaria and fell into the trap. Trying to flick on the leg side he ended up giving a simple chance to Smit Patel at backward square leg, who was waiting for the catch. But by then, Bengal had reached 198, thanks to a 78-run fourth wicket stand.

Ashok makes a mark

Earlier, resuming on overnight 230/6, Gujarat's first innings folded for 260. Ashok Dinda bowled a good spell in the morning and returned with three wickets. His one-handed catch off his own bowling to dismiss Manprit Juneja was the highlight of the first session.

The visitors also had a little bit of worry about their skipper's health. Patel couldn't keep for a period today as he was running a temperature. But he returned to the field in the last session and stayed till the end.

Brief scores: Gujarat 260 in 85.3 overs (M Juneja 48, R Dhruv 41; S Sarkar 4/60, A Dinda 3/73) vs Bengal 220/4 in 69 overs (M Tiwary 102 batting, S Das 75; R Kalaria 3/58)

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