Bengal stare at innings defeat against Tamil Nadu

Kolkata: A now familiar batting collapse has left hosts Bengal staring at innings defeat against Tamil Nadu in a fourth round Elite Group B encounter of the Ranji Trophy at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.

Bengal wanted a green-top pitch to wriggle out of trouble but their batsmen didn`t show enough application required to survive on such a strip.

In reply to Tamil Nadu`s challenging 391, Bengal resumed the day for 84/2, but lost the remaining wickets in the first session to collapse for 176.

Following on, the hosts in their second essay ended the day for 163/4, needing 52 more runs to avoid an innings defeat as Sourav Ganguly-led-Bengal put up a sorry picture.

Leading the side in absence of Manoj Tiwary, Ganguly (28) was at the crease with former captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla (50).

The visitors put up a disciplined approach in the morning as Tamil Nadu seamer V Yomahesh (4/32) led the bowling pack, followed by two each by pacer Jagannathan Kaushik and left-arm spinner R Aushik Srinivas as Bengal once again failed to apply themselves to lose seven wickets before lunch.

Yomahesh also gave jitters in Bengal`s second innings, scalping two for 31 before Ganguly and Shukla joined together in a rescue mission.

Such was the desperation, that Bengal had to bring on an injured Rohan Banerjee from the hospital bed but the right-hander had to retire hurt without scoring after facing eight balls.

The left-handed opener, who was injured after being hit in the lower abdominal region on the first day, was brought on at No 8 after Bengal were reeling for 129/6 but it seemed he aggravated his condition while running as he walked off the field after a 17-minute stint.

"Dropping catches -- four times -- did not help and that was the turning point. Wicket was helping the bowlers but past is past. Hope we save the match and now getting one-point is the only aim," Shukla said after his dogged unbeaten half-centuries in both the innings.

Absence of Tiwary and Saha, doing national duties, even worsened the matter, as Bengal put up a meek show in their first innings.

Shreevats Goswami, who looked compact in his overnight score of 33, could not build on his good start to get out in the second over of the day edging one Yomahesh delivery behind the stumps.

Writam Porel also followed suit in Yomahesh`s next over as the Bengal batsman got out without adding anything to his overnight score of 4.

Yomahesh spread terror in Bengal camp picking his third wicket in the dream spell in the form of Ganguly who was brilliantly taken at backward point in a one-handed catch by Abhinav Mukund to reduce Bengal to 87/5.

Shukla provided semblance of respect to the total in a 44-run sixth wicket partnership with Mohammad Shami Ahmed (20) before the latter got out to Laxmipathy Balaji.

It was then a matter of time that Bengal`s innings folded as they were asked to bat again before the lunch.

Bengal had a jittery start to their second essay as Yomahesh reduced them to 8/2 before Ganguly and Shukla showed some defiance.

Goswami was dropped four times -- once on 0 and thrice on 1 -- but the diminutive youngster failed to capitalise to be dismissed for 36.

Lying at the bottom of the table with five points from three matches, two-time champions Bengal are desperate to beat the drop.

Tamil Nadu on the other hand lie on fourth position with eight from three matches.

Bengal were earlier relegated to Plate in the 2007-08 season.

PTI

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