Tiwary and Dinda come good for Bengal
Manoj Tiwary's celebration was understated after he reached his 17th first-class hundred, with a glance off Rush Kalaria to the fine-leg fence. The team's dress designer had passed away in a road accident on Saturday night and the Bengal players had decided not to celebrate on the field.
There was one more reason, however, behind Tiwary's efforts to play down the knock — an important one in the context of the game, as Bengal had three points all but in the bag after making 220/4 in reply to Gujarat's 260 all out on the second day at Eden Gardens.
It was because captain Tiwary had set his aim higher — on an outright win with perhaps a bonus point — which was why he thought his 102 unbeaten was still a job not quite done.
"I was rather relieved to score this century. But I need to score a big one, because we want to win this match outright," he said after the day's play.
The Bengal captain was criticised for wasting his starts in the first two matches — especially the way he got out in the second innings against Punjab in the last game as the team suffered an innings defeat. Not that he was batting badly. But expectations were high after he scored a 93 against England in the tour game.
Tiwary walked in when Bengal were 19/2, with both the openers dismissed. He was scratchy in the beginning. An inside edge off Kushang Patel missed the leg stump when he was on one. He was lucky again when on 27, a catch flew between the first and second slips.
It was a difficult period but Subhomoy Das (75), who was batting beautifully, took the pressure off his captain and allowed him to get into the groove. Das played some gorgeous shots on the off side but got out, top-edging an attempted hook off Kalaria. After the 103-run partnership with Das ended, Tiwary took charge and together with Wriddhiman Saha, who made a 94-ball 27, took Bengal towards safety.