Anustup Majumdar
Anustup Majumdar

Kolkata: Anustup Majumdar struck an unbeaten century to once again become Bengal's saviour after a familiar top order collapse as he single-handedly took his side to 275 for nine on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy semifinal against a star-studded Karnataka here on Saturday.

Fresh from his career-best 157 from a similar position in the quarterfinals, Majumdar slammed an unbeaten 120 (173 balls; 18x4, 1x6) to revive Bengal innings after they were asked to bat first.

The home side are making a bid to reach the final after 13 years.

The first day's play also saw the first dismissal via DRS in domestic cricket when Karnataka pace spearhead Abhimanyu Mithun got the wicket of Abhishek Raman (0) in the 16th delivery of the innings.

The DRS was used for the first time in India's domestic circuit in the two ongoing Ranji semifinals, but only with limited options as there was no HawkEye, Snickometer or UltraEdge.

In an almost action replay of the Odisha match in which they staged a stunning turnaround from 46/5, Bengal were staring down the barrel on Saturday also with their top batsmen, including skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran (15) and Manoj Tiwary (8), back in the pavillion after playing reckless shots.

The scoreboard read a precarious 62/4 when the onus fell once again on Majumdar after Tiwary departed in trying to hit spinner K Gowtham across the line.

Meanwhile, Gujarat, led by Arzan Nagwaswalla's three wickets, produced a disciplined show and restricted Saurashtra to 217 for five on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy semifinal here on Saturday.

For the hosts, only Sheldon Jackson (69 not out) was able to convert his start at the SCA stadium.

Initially, it seemed Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel's decision to put Saurashtra in backfired, but the bowlers made a splendid comeback and pegged the hosts back on two occasions.

Saurashtra openers Harvik Desai (35) and Kishan Parmar (37) gave the hosts a sedate start and negated the early challenge well, especially the questions posed by medium-pacer Chitan Gaja (0-42).

Parmar got a life when he was caught off a no-ball and then he survived a few thick edges. Gujarat missed another chance as Roosh Kalaria dropped Parmar on 36. Despite the reprieves, Parmar couldn't convert his start and was cleaned up by left-arm spinner Axar Patel (2-47).

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