New Delhi: Veteran opener Arindam Das scored an unbeaten century as Bengal managed a decent 242 for three at stumps on the first day of their fifth round Ranji Trophy match against Services at the Airforce Ground, Palam in New Delhi.
Arindam batted through the day to remain unconquered on 139 as he shared a 129-run opening stand with left-hander Rohan Banerjee, who made a sedate 42.
Arindam faced 260 balls during the day in which he hit 11 fours and a big six of off-spinner Koteshwar Rao.
The opening stand lasted for nearly 55 overs before a freak run out ended Banerjee's stay at the wicket. He faced 169 balls and hit four boundaries.
The day belonged to Arindam who batted with a lot of caution.
He was patient to wait for the loose deliveries. A couple of cover drives off Irfan Khan and a straight drive off Suraj Yadav were the stand out shots. The 100 came off 186 balls with a deft late cut off Irfan to deep third-man boundary.
This is his second century of the season and 10th of his career. Once he reached the century, Arindam asked the scoreboard operator to take off his scores.
"I just got out after scoring 100 in the match against Madhya Pradesh. It was a kind superstition that I would get out. I am happy with the score. We need to get to 450 at least. The pitch is getting lower and slower and there will be a bit more turn," Arindam told reporters after the end of day's play.
Subhamoy Das (23) supported Arindam well for a 70-run stand but got out to a rank long hop from leg spinner Prateek Desai. He tried to pull the ball and it trickled down to the stumps.
Wriddhiman Saha (21, in pic) got a raw deal when he was adjudged leg before to a delivery from Irfan that pitched well outside off stump.
Chairman of the national selection committee, Sandeep Patil, was present at the ground today but left before Saha got out at the fag end of the day.
In the morning before the start of the match, Bengal captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla was felicitated by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) treasurer Biswarup Dey for becoming the first cricketer from the state to complete 100 Ranji Trophy matches.
Shukla was presented with a decorated 'pagdi' along with a shawl and an autographed bat by his Bengal teammates.
Brief Scores: Bengal 242 for 3 in 90 overs (Arindam Das 139 batting, Rohan Banerjee 42; Irfan Khan 1/57, Prateek Desai 1/27) vs Services.