Services v Bengal, Ranji Trophy, Group B, 1st day November 28, 2013

Arindam ton drives Bengal on placid pitch

Amit Shetty

Bengal 242 for 3 (Arindam 139*, Banerjee 42) v Services

Arindam Das made full use of a placid pitch as his unbeaten 139 helped Bengal reach 242 for three against Services in a Group B encounter at the Air-force ground in Palam. It turned out to be a good toss to lose for Bengal captain Laxmi Shukla, who was playing his 100th Ranji game - a first for a Bengal cricketer, as veteran opener Arindam batted with a lot of composure to score his 10th first-class hundred. Arindam faced 260 deliveries during and hit 11 boundaries - all confident strokes - and a six off offspinner Koteshwar Rao.

There were two significant partnership throughout the day. Arindam first shared an opening stand of 129 in 52.4 overs with left-handed opener Rohan Banerjee (42 off 169 balls) before adding 70 for the second wicket with Subhomoy Das (23), who was bowled trying to pull a half-tracker from legspinner Pratik Desai. 

Wriddhiman Saha (21) got a howler of a decision as a delivery from pacer Irfan Khan kept low and hit him well outside the off-stump ending his chance to impress chairman of national selection committee Sandeep Patil, who was present for the better part of the day.

With the pitch offering nothing for bowlers and stand-in captain Rajat Paliwal not being able to bowl due to an injured finger, the rest of the attack lacked any firepower whatsoever, with the ball rarely beating the bat. A couple of cover drives and a beautiful straight drive off Irfan were some of the better shots that Arindam played. The 32-year-old reached his century off 186 deliveries with a cut shot that raced to the deep third-man boundary.

Once he reached his century, he asked the ground scorer to stop putting up his individual score which he later termed "as a superstition as he got out almost immediately after scoring his century against Madhya Pradesh in an earlier match".

With relatively more potency in their attack that includes Ashoke Dinda, Shib Shankar Paul and Iresh Saxena, Bengal would aim to put more pressure on the Services batsmen. However, 20 wickets on the pitch that is getting slower with time looks a distant reality.