Baroda 86 for 3 (Devdhar 32*, Shukla 2-4) trail Bengal 455 (Chatterjee 192, Goswami 87, Swapnil 5-99) by 369 runs
Swapnil Singh marked his return to first-class cricket after three years with a five-for, helping Baroda stage a collapse in the latter stages of Bengal's first innings. Still, Sudip Chatterjee's big hundred, and late strikes from the visiting captain Laxmi Shukla meant Bengal held a clear advantage at the end of the second day's play at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara.
In reply to Bengal's first-innings total of 455, Baroda were reeling at 86 for 3 at stumps. After Veer Pratap Singh had induced an edge off Dhiren Mistry's willow to Manoj Tiwary early in the last session, Shukla struck twice in a late spell. Shukla first saw Saurabh Wakaskar's attempted leave take the bottom edge off the bat and ricochet on to the stumps, and then trapped the Baroda captain Aditya Waghmode in front of the wickets.
If Baroda are to somehow collect an innings lead on a placid track, they will be looking up to Kedar Devdhar and Yusuf Pathan to put up a huge partnership, and then hope for their deep lower order to fire. While Devdhar appeared to be in good touch, Yusuf Survived a jittery 20 minutes before the close of play. Both Devdhar and Pathan will have plenty of cues to take from the youngster Chatterjee, who stole the show for the second day running.
Chatterjee, who began the day on 91, started with an edge off Munaf Patel in the opening over that went wide off gully for a brace. He then completed his century with an elegant flick off his pads, once again off Munaf, which raced to the square-leg fence.
Most of the opening day had Chatterjee displaying his grit and defensive technique. But once he had passed the landmark, he started making optimum use of every scoring opportunity. He continued scoring evven after his 156-run association for the fourth wicket with Shreevats Goswami came to an end when Goswami nicked Yusuf behind on 87.
Chatterjee had hit just four fours on day one, but added nine more in the opening session of day two. The highlight strokes of the day were his twin boundaries off Munaf in an over soon after Shukla had joined him at the crease. Chatterjee first flicked a fuller delivery through mid-wicket, and then rocked on to the backfoot to cut the next ball through point.
Shukla was just as aggressive at the other end, hitting Yusuf for a six over long-on and following it up with another off Swapnil Singh in the left-arm spinner's first over of the day. Swapnil was brought on only in the 33rd over of the day. With Chatterjee and Shukla having already added 68 runs for the fifth wicket, Baroda were in a danger of being batted out of the game.
However, Swapnil started the comeback by inducing a top edge off Shukla for Yusuf to complete a catch running a few yards backwards from slips. Debutant Subhajit Banerjee was then caught brilliant at forward short leg by Devdhar immediately after opening his account. Chatterjee was still going strong at the other end, having paced his innings extremely well. After taking 194 balls to complete his century, he took just 67 more to cross 150. He went at at run-a-ball in the second session of the day and entered the 190s with a steer off left-arm pacer Gagandeep Singh that sped to third-man fence.
He was however denied what would have been a well-deserved double-century after his forward prod off Gagandeep resulted in an edge to Pinal Shah behind the stumps. Chatterkee walked back to a standing ovation from his team-mates.
Swapnil then wrapped up the Bengal tail quickly, with the visitors losing their last six wickets for just 47 runs. The damage, however, was already done by then.