Manoj Tiwary served a timely reminder to the selectors with an inspirational 191 as hosts Bengal stayed on course for bonus points against Gujarat in a third round Ranji Trophy encounter at the Eden Gardens on Monday.
The Bengal skipper more than made amends for a demoralizing defeat against Punjab in the last match as they scored a massive 526 for seven in the first innings before declaring and then had Gujarat on the mat, reducing them to 18 for 4 in the second essay.
Tiwary came in to bowl his leg-breaks when Gujarat batted in the second innings and had skipper Parthiv Patel caught by Wriddhiman Saha.
Gujarat now are 248 runs behind with only six wickets in hand. Even though the light fades early at the Eden Gardens, Bengal's pace trio of Ashoke Dinda, Sourav Sarkar and Shami Ahmed should be able to take the remaining six wickets.
"I will only feel happy about my innings once Bengal win the match with bonus points. An innings like this becomes significant when the team wins. Personally, it was satisfying getting Parthiv out, as he is a big innings player. Hopefully, my pacers will now do the job for me," Tiwary said after the match.
Bengal's skipper is one player known to score 'Daddy Hundreds' and Monday was one such day. He carried on from his overnight score of 102 as he batted for close to eight hours, facing 312 balls in the process. He hit 21 boundaries and a six in the process.
He enjoyed two fruitful partnerships -- 145 with Anustup Majundar, who showed glimpses of returning to form with a fine 68, inclusive of 14 boundaries.
Then it was former Bengal skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla who continued with his blazing form, hitting 113 off only 117 balls, studded 15 boundaries and a six.
With a deficit of 266 runs, it was all about how Gujarat would save the game. After Priyank Panchal was run-out in the second over, left-hander Niraj Patel was caught in the slips off Dinda and then Sarkar's in-swinger cleaned up Smit Patel.
With the lights fading, skipper Tiwary didn't have an option but start with slow bowlers. He bowled two overs and in the process got their most dangerous player.
Gujarat: 260 & 18-4 (Manoj Tiwary 1-6).
Bengal: 526-7 decl (Manoj Tiwary 191, LR Shukla 113 n.o, Anustup Majumdar 68, Rush Kalaria 3-116).