Bengaluru: Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary led from the front as his 20th first-class century ensured a point for the visitors against two-time defending champions Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy group league encounter, here on Sunday.
Starting the day at 58 for two with another 167 runs to get in order to avoid innings defeat, Bengal reached 249 for four at tea when the two captains decided to call off the match.
Tiwary, who failed in the first innings, scored a patient unbeaten 103 off 197 balls with 13 fours and proved to be an able guide for debutant Naved Ahmed, who missed well deserved hundred, as he was out on 95. The 29-year-old Naved consumed 248 balls and hit 16 boundaries.
The Naved-Tiwary duo added 178 runs for the fourth wicket in 61.5 overs to ensure a drawn game.
For skipper Tiwary, the knock against Karnataka, according to him was "one of his better efforts".
"I will rank this innings as my second best in domestic first class cricket after my 94 against Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy final at the Wankhede in 2006-07. The reason being the opposition, who have won the Ranji Trophy during last two editions. The situation of the match, quality of attack and able to get a point makes it satisfying," Tiwary told PTI at the end of the match.
The skipper was all praise for debutant Naved, whose innings he termed as "very crucial" in the context of the match.
"When we picked Naved for the game, we had confidence in him as a player. I know he is not a youngster like Sudeep Chatterjee but he has had experience of years of club cricket.
He knew that the chance has come late and he had to grab it. I am very happy for him. The culture that our coach Sairaj Bahutule and I want to start in the team is giving fair chance to everyone," said Tiwary.
"Naved showed tremendous application. Since I was at the other end, I would just caution him the moment he was playing a loose shot. I wanted him to grab the opportunity to the fullest," said the skipper.
When asked about Pragyan Ojha's performance, the skipper said that he would come good in the upcoming games.
"Pragyan will only get better. He has 100 plus Test wickets and has loads of experience. In this match, he was good in patches and he gave his best effort. He will win matches for us."
When asked about his pace bowlers, Manoj spoke about rookie Mukesh Kumar, who is in the squad.
"I won't tell you his qualities right now but he will definitely have a surprise element for opposition teams," said captain. Bengal play next against Rajasthan at the Eden Gardens.
Brief Scores: Bengal 312 & 249/4 (Manoj Tuwary 103, Naved Ahmed 95). Karnataka 537/9 decl. Points: Karnataka 3 Bengal 1.