Kolkata: Shaking off their minnows status, Assam today scored over Bengal on the latter’s home turf denying them three points and dealing a big blow to the their semi-final aspiration in the Ranji Trophy Super League.
Veteran Sridharan Sriram struck a 194-ball 146, Gokul Sharma hit 101 from 182 balls and Tarjinder Singh scored 98 from 153 deliveries to lead a superb turnaround and help the visitors earn three points by virtue of first-innings lead.
In reply to Bengal’s mammoth first-innings total of 562 for six declared, Assam were never really in trouble and put up a brave front against the home side as they amassed 588 for six declared to take the crucial lead on a life-less strip at the Eden Gardens.
Resuming at 293 for three, Sriram and Arlen Konwar (26) stitched together 81 runs for the fourth wicket before Sharma and Singh added 176 for the sixth wicket to take the decisive first-innings lead.
Promoted to the Super League this season, Assam (six points) thus edged past the two-time Ranji champions and 10 times runners-up Bengal (five) who slipped to sixth position on the group A standings.
Now, the task for W V Raman’s boys to make the last-four stage appears stiff as Bengal’s next four ties are away matches beginning with Gujarat from November 24-27.
To make matters worse, Bengal’s star bowler Ashok Dinda has been ruled out for three weeks after being diagnosed with typhoid, while batsmen Arindam Ghosh and Rohan Banerjee, too, are indisposed.
Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary also could not make the field for the last three days and Wriddhiman Saha led the side, while medium pacer Mohammad Sami Ahmed who made his debut in place of Dinda, was available only in patches yesterday as both were down with high fever.
The credit, however, should go to Assam batsmen for overhauling Bengal’s tall first innings total. Skipper Amol Muzumdar, a former Mumbai veteran having played 154 first-class matches, said he had never seen something like this in his 18-year-long career.