Kolkata, Nov 6 (UNI) VVS Laxman failed to bat himself into some much-needed-form as Hyderabad finished the third day of the Ranji Trophy season opener against Bengal at 86/3 after being bowled out for 277 in the first essay at the Eden Gardens here today.
Laxman made a scratchy 18 after his fourth ball duck yesterday, making his selection for the first Test against Pakistan a big debate.
Hyderabad goes to the last day still trailing by 148 runs, after Bengal skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla inflicted a follow-on and was now looking to collect a bonus.
Earlier in the day, the Hyderabad tail wagged. Amol Shinde and Pragyan Ojha batted their hearts out and guided Hyderabad to a respectable 227. The duo shared a 74 run partnership for the eight wicket frustrating the Bengal bowlers.
Tewari, after his scintillating double hundred yesterday was again the most talked about man, getting the vital breakthrough when he scalped Ojha.
Shinde made optimum use of the chance he got, scoring a career best 90 and showed his much illustrated counterparts the value of right application and determination. In no hurry to score, he occupied the crease for a good 255 minutes and hit 12 fours and a six.
Off-spinner Sourasish Lahiri foxed him with a perfect arm-ball and Wriddhiman Saha was on job. With 234 runs behind, the visitors were made to follow-on and had a sedate start with openers Manohar and Ravi Teja.
But the potbellied Murtaza Lodger, making a comeback after three seasons, foxed Manohar to play against the turn. Shib Shankar Paul completed the formality with a diving effort at mid-on.
Laxman walked in with a load of expectations as if he was destined to score a big hundred at his favourite Eden Gardens. His knock of 281 in the second innings against Australia during the 2001 series is still etched in the minds of every cricket lover in the city.
He flicked a few off his pads to the on-side boundary and a few hundreds in the stands were bracing themselves for another magical effort from the Hydrerabadi genius. But Lodghar made one stop and bounce and Laxman's pull went to Sourasish Lahiri standing at short mid-wicket.
With the danger man back in the pavilion, Bengal coach Bharath Arun was positive, '' At times the wicket is too slow. It's to the advantage of our bowlers. The batsmen have a chance to adjust even if they fail to understand the flight and the turn. A good morning session and with their moral down after Laxman's departure we are in with a very realistic chance. '' SCOREBOARD Bengal (1st innings) 461 Hyderabad (1st innings overnight) 65/5 A Shinde st Saha b Lahiri 90 H Ahmed b Lahiri 23 M Arjun b Paul 0 P Ojha b Tewari 35 S Shoaib lbw Lahiri 12 Lalith Mohan not out 0 Extras (b-4, lb-2, w-1, nb-5) 12 Total (in 79.1 overs) 227(all out) Fall of wickets: 6/96. 7/99 8/173, 9/212 Bowling: Bose 19-4-83-1, Paul 20-8-37-3, Lahiri 20.1-5-65-4, Lodhgar 11-3-13-1, Tewari 9-2-23-1 Hyderabad (2nd innings) D Manohar c Paul b Lodhgar 7 Ravi Teja c Das b Lodhgar 47 VVS Laxman c Lahiri b Lodhgar 18 A Pai batting 5 A Yadav batting 5 Extras (lb-1, nb-3) 4 Total: (in 32 overs) 86(for 3 wickets) Fall of wickets: 1/37, 2/71, 3/81 Bowling: Bose 7-2-26-0, Paul 5-1-12-0, Lahiri 5-0-20-0, Lodhgar 13-5-22-3 Tewari 2-0-5-0 UNI BA SJC AB KP2116