All-rounder Sourashis Lahiri scored his second first-class century as Bengal scored a healthy 431 in their first innings against Services in a Ranji Trophy group B encounter at the Airforce ground in Palam on Friday.
Courtesy Lahiri's well-made 108 off 212 balls and overnight centurion Arindam Das's 164 helped Bengal reached 431 in 166.2 overs.
For the Services, their off-spinner T Koteshwar Rao bowled a marathon spell grabbing four for 123 in 49 overs.
Left-arm spinner Rahul Kanojia bowled 39.2 overs and took two for 91.
At stumps, Services reached 39 for no loss in 11 overs with Pratik Desai batting on 24 and Anshul Gupta undefeated on 15. Services need another 393 runs in 180 overs (two days) to get three points from this match.
Lahiri, who was not out on three overnight gave a good account of himself as he looked confident from the onset while Arindam also looked in good touch at the other end.
The duo added 55 runs for the fourth wicket in the first hour as Arindam brought his third score of 150 plus in his 12-year career for Bengal.
The only rash shot that Arindam played during his 306 ball innings was an edge that flew over second slip for a boundary.
It was Rao who breached through Das's defence as he was bowled for 164. He faced 306 balls hitting 14 boundaries and a six. Lahiri however carried on confidently at the other end. He drove beautifully mainly through the cover region and also kept the scoreboard ticking with singles and doubles.
Anustup Majumdar (8) tried to play a cut shot off Rao and was caught by wicketkeeper Nakul Verma.
Playing his 100th Ranji Trophy match, skipper Shukla (28) looked confident from the start as he first hit an inside out cover drive off left-arm spinner Rahul Kanojia and the hoisted Rao for a six over long on. He added 55 runs with Lahiri for the sixth wicket.
Shukla however was dismissed when he tried to pull a Suraj Yadav bouncer which was taken by Verma behind stumps.
Sandipan Das (9) was bowled by Kanojia and never looked comfortable during his stay.
Lahiri got a reprieve on 96 when he tried to hit Rao for a six but Kanojia at deep mid-wicket boundary missed an easy catch.
Lahiri finally completed his century off Kanojia's delivery that he pushed for a single.
He was the eighth man dismissed trying to clear the boundary ropes being caught by Yadav after hitting 10 boundaries.
"This is a better effort than my previous century against Saurashtra at Rajkot. There I had Manoj Tiwary as my partner but here it was a big responsibility of putting up a decent total on board," Lahiri said after the end of the day's play.
Asked about how difficult it was for the bowlers, the offie said,"It is pretty difficult to get a batsman out on this track. It is indeed a hard work for bowlers. As far as my assessment is concerned, a total of 431 is good enough if we bowl well on this low and slow track.
"I don't think another 50 runs would have made a difference. If we can't defend 431, we might not defend 500 just like it happened against Assam a few seasons back," Lahiri concluded.
Brief Scores: Bengal 1st Innings 431 in 166.2 overs (Arindam Das 164, Sourashish Lahiri 108, Rohan Banerjee 42, T Koteshwar Rao 4/123).
Services 1st Innings: 39/0 (Pratik Desai 24 batting, Anshul Gupta 15 batting).