Ranji Quarters: Bengal Gain Vital First- innings Lead
Karnataka batters dominated second day of their Ranji Trophy quarterfinals against Uttrakhand. Punjab have upper hand vs Saurashtra.
Feisty Bengal strengthened their hold over the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals match against Jharkhand by taking a crucial first- innings lead at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday. At stumps on Day 2, the hosts were sitting preetty on 238 for five, enjoying a 65 - run lead over Jharkhand, who were bowled out for 173 the previous day.
However, Bengal should have been in at a much stronger position had they not failed to capitalise on a solid 136- run first- wicket stand between Abhimanyu Easwaran and Sudip Gharami. The Laxmi Ratan Shukla - coached side once again missed out on a good start losing newcomer opener Kazi Junaid Saifi early in the morning for only one. But Easwaran continued with his sublime form to control the innings along with young Gharami.
Much like the match against Uttrakhand at the league stage, the duo laid the foundation for a strong Bengal reply. With Jharkhand pacers Asish Kumar and Rahul Shukla maintaining a steady line, the batters waited for the loose ball to score without going for any heriocs. Opener Easwaran raced to his third fifty in this Ranji Season in 80 balls with the help of seven boundaries. His partner too reached the milestone after the lunch break facing 87 balls which included eight boundaries.
It took veteran Shahbaz Nadeem to break the partnership when the spinner returned for his second spell. Gharami, who survived on 27 when pacer Supriyo Chakraborty failed to hold on to a return chance, perished on 68 edging the left- arm spinner to Virat Singh at first slip. Bengal overtook the Jharkhand total just after the tea break, but Jharkhand bowlers were able to put the pressure on Bengal by successfully drying up the runs.
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