Snubbed Bose makes his point to selectors
Bengal 121 for 4 (Gavaskar 63, Arindam 45*) lead Karnataka 89 (Bose 6-38, Sarkar 4-24) by 32 runs
Conventional wisdom dictated that Karnataka, having won the toss, would opt to field first on a seaming Eden Gardens wicket. Instead they chose to face the in-form Bengal seamers and paid heavily on a day that saw Ranadeb Bose (6 for 38) and Sourav Sarkar (4 for 24) wreak havoc with the new ball as Karnataka, which has relied largely on its batting strength this season, crashed to 89 all out in 38.5 overs.
At stumps, Bengal were 121 for 4, holding a slender 32-run lead with Arindam Das and Laxmi Ratan Shukla (7) at the crease.
Today's effort saw Bose leapfrog to the top of the wicket-takers' list in the tournament, with 44 this season, and Bengal's steady reply gives them one foot inside the Ranji final.
Yet it wasn't easy; if Yere Goud & co succumbed to the nagging line and length and the pronounced lateral movement that is so characteristic of the Eden wicket, Bengal were staring down the barrel at 16 for 3. It took an adventurous, counter-attacking 63 from Rohan Gavaskar and a dogged unbeaten 45 from opener Das - and a fourth-wicket stand of 83 - to offset the efforts of Vinay Kumar (2 for 36) and debutant Srinivasa Dhananjaya (2 for 27).
The day belonged to the Bengal pacers; this isn't the first time this season that the Bose-Sarkar duo has run through stalwart batting sides. Yet, today's carnage topped it all as Karnataka were in complete disarray on 18 for 6 at one point of time.
Ignored for the World Cup probables, Bose couldn't have chosen a better platform to prove a point to the selectors. His exploits began with the fifth ball of the opening over, the pitched-up incoming delivery squaring up Barrington Rowland (0), who nicked the ball to the keeper. It was, the bowler later said, the pick of his wickets.
Over the next hour, the duo kept attacking relentlessly - Bose foxing the batsmen with sharp away-going balls, Sarkar making them sweat with darting inswingers. Had Thilak Naidu not freed the shackles with some lofted strokes square of the wicket en route to a 33-run cameo, Deep Dasgupta's team would have dismissed Karnataka for far below 89.
Speaking after the day's play, Dasgupta was full of praise for his bowlers. "Honestly, I feel we exceeded expectations. It shows how good we've been this season."
For his part, Bose could barely conceal his delight and surprise at being asked to bowl first on such a juicy wicket - and also at the routcome. "We were confident of doing well with the new ball, but we never imagined that we will dismiss them for 89," he said.
He explained that he relied on the lateral movement to do all the damage. "I just stuck to line and length, and left it to the movement to do the rest. It worked because, firstly, we were relentless and piling up the pressure on the batsmen by not giving away easy runs. And Sourav also kept the pressure on from the other end."