Home side bowlers rarely posed any threat on a docile wicket

sns & agencies
Kolkata, 14 November
Naman Ojha struck an elegant unbeaten century on a dead-looking Eden pitch as Madhya Pradesh put themselves in a comfortable position against Bengal in their Ranji Trophy group ‘B’ league match, here today.
Bengal had opted for a green top but the slow and low surface severely “upset” the home side as Madhya Pradesh took full advantage of the track after electing to bat and score 293 for four with Ojha unbeaten on 101, his 10th first-class century.
"The pitch lacked sufficient roll and water which made it quite difficult for us to bowl. The feeling was like tasting a saltless food. Obviously, they had little time to prepare with the India-West Indies Test but we expected some bounce. It appears green but there was no bounce or carry in the wicket. It really upsets everybody in the team",  said Shib Shankar Paul after the day’s play.
Udit Birla was batting on 14 at the other end when the stumps were drawn for the day. After being dropped on 5, Ojha first had a fruitful 100-run partnership with Mohnish Mishra (64) and then his stand with skipper Devendra Bundela (35) yielded 97 runs as Madhya Pradesh remained on course for yet another good show against Bengal.
The home side sorely missed Mohammad Shami, who is doing the Team India duty in Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell match in Mumbai, as none of their bowlers could pose any threat on the eased out track.
Wicketless Ashok Dinda slogged for 24 overs, while senior most Sib Shankar Paul was forced to bowl 19 overs and gave the first breakthrough after the first drink break in pre-lunch session. As their own ploy backfired, Paul severely criticised the pitch in the post-match interaction.
With nothing going in their way, the catching too was a let down.
Paul gave the first breakthrough with the scalp of Satyam Chaudhary who had an unbeaten double century against Railways in the first round. But Bengal could not capitalise as five overs later, Anustup Majumdar dropped a regulation catch of Ojha at the second slip off skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla’s bowling. Ojha later conceded that Shami’s absence was a boon for Madhya Pradesh.
Other scores: Andhra 233/5 v Assam, Baroda 176 v Railways 24/1, Haryana 296/8 v Jharkhand, J & K 178 v H. Pradesh 92/1, Maharashtra 337/4 v Hyderabad, Karnataka 226/7 v Gujarat, Tripura 136/9 v Kerala, Mumbai 252/6 v Delhi, Saurashtra 235/4 v U. Pradesh, Services 275/6 v Rajasthan, Odisha 226/3 v Vidarbha.