Eden Gardens is a special place for cricket in India, where many memorable games have been played. One would readily recollect India's famous 2001 Test win against Australia marked by an outstanding partnership between VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid.
Though not in equal measure but certainly one that would be recorded in the iconic venue’s log book is a certain 9-wicket win that a humble Kerala team registered at the expense of their overconfident hosts Bengal in the Ranji Trophy on Thursday.
It will be remembered as one of Kerala cricket’s finest first-class victories against the two-time winners of the Trophy, who were also semifinalists last season.
On a seam-friendly wicket, where the likes of Mohammed Shami and Ashoke Dinda failed to dominate Kerala’s Sandeep Warrier finished with a five-wicket haul as Bengal was bundled out for 184 in their second essay, setting Kerala a modest target of 41 runs.
Jalaj Saxena was declared player-of-the-match for his brilliant 143 in Kerala total of 291 that gave the visitors a real hope of pushing for an unprecedented win against their mighty opponents who had allegedly claimed that ‘Shami’s 15 overs will be sufficient’ to dismantle Kerala.
Resuming third day’s play at 5/1 Bengal lost opener Abhishek Kumar Raman soon before being thrust into the path of a recovery by skipper Manoj Tiwary and Sudip Chatterjee, who held an 89-run stand.
Tiwary’s dismissal for 62, castled by Warrier, derailed the Bengal innings and a couple of cameos from Vivek Singh and Anustup Majumdar failed to inspire a comeback. Basil Thampi bagged three wickets and not only has Kerala’s unbeaten run in the season stayed intact the back-to-back wins, a week after their success over Andhra in Thiruvananthapuram, has propelled the side coached by Australian Dav Whatmore to the summit of Elite Group A&B standings.
Brief scores: Bengal 147 & 184 in 56.5 overs (Tiwary 62, Sudip Chatterjee 39, Vivek Singh 25, Sandeep Warrier 5/33, Basil Thampi 3/59) lost to Kerala 291 & 44/1 in 11 overs (Jalaj Saxena 26)...