'Couple of decisions went against us' - Dasgupta
Paras Mhambrey came charging up towards the room where the analyst was recording the ball-by-ball of the Bengal innings. The Bengal coach looked understandably disturbed as Manoj Tiwary, one of his well-set batsmen, had been given out at a crucial juncture of the Ranji Trophy final in dubious circumstances. Tiwary, too, with his pads still on, accompanied Mhambrey. Both of them saw the video a few times and shook their heads. Tiwary even uttered "Aise toh satyanash karega kisi ka career." (In this fashion careers will get spoilt).
The Bengal camp's ire was directed against umpire AV Jayaprakash who had ruled Tiwary lbw, to a delivery from Praveen Kumar that was sliding down the leg. At that stage Tiwary was fighting hard along with Laxmi Ratan Shukla to help Bengal move towards UP's 387. Earlier, Rohan Gavaskar, too, had been trapped in front of the stumps off another Kumar delivery that was angled in from wide off the crease from round the wicket and was easily sliding down the leg side. The umpire at fault had been once again Jayaprakash.
But with 39 runs still to get to the vital first-innings lead, Deep Dasgupta, Bengal's captain, did well to hide his emotions at the end of the day when he said, "It is an important game and a couple of decisions went against us. It could prove crucial in the end. I don't want to talk more about the decisions." Instead he tried to focus on the positives. Dasgupta drew parallels to Bengal's current position with another first-innings thriller that they contested against Madhya Pradesh at the Eden Gardens last year in their last league match. Chasing MP's 392, Bengal were tottering at 106 for 5 when Sourav Ganguly (121), Debang Gandhi (77) and Shukla (81) had saved them from the ignominy. There again Ranadeb Bose, who was unbeaten on Tuesday evening with his 38-ball three, had made three valuable runs from 61 balls. "Both [Shukla and Bose] of them have had lot of partnerships and they are the best judge of the situation", said a confident Dasgupta looking forward to the penultimate day of the final.
He also took the opportunity to put some pressure on the young Piyush Chawla, who had taken four Bengal wickets by acknowledging the youngster's good work, while at the same time, adding "It is not that he has completely fooled us to get his wickets, so we are not bothered about him."
A red-faced Chawla, not because of the opposition captain's remarks, but after toiling hard in the day where he bowled 21 overs across three spells for his three wickets, meanwhile only said, "It is just a matter of two good balls, so no one has the advantage or disadvantage."
Nagraj Gollapudi is Assistant Editor of Cricinfo Magazine