Ranji: Pandey puts MP on top

Bengal opener Abhimanyu Easwaran (48 off 100 balls) was patient and selected his shots wisely but his teammates lacked the skill to negotiate the moving ball or they perished slashing against the line.

Ishwar Pandey (in picture) removed Manoj Tiwary and Wriddiman Saha in a five over spell. (File photo)   -  Vivek Bendre

Ishwar Pandey put Madhya Pradesh in control with a four-wicket haul in just 16 overs. Fellow seamers Puneet Datey and Chandrakant Sakure ably supported Pandey and shared six wickets between them. Bengal crashed to 121 all out on day two of the quarterfinal knockout tie at the Brabourne stadium.

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MP is 141 runs ahead, thanks to a first innings lead of 127 and 14 for no loss in the second essay. Bengal lost their initiative with reckless batting. Opener Abhimanyu Easwaran (48 off 100 balls) was patient and selected his shots wisely but his teammates lacked the skill to negotiate the moving ball or they perished slashing against the line. Datey (three for 36), Sakure (three for 38) kept up the pressure.

Pandey dealt twin blows, removing Manoj Tiwary and Wriddiman Saha in a 5-2-8-2 spell. MP close-in fielders dropped catches, yet the three bowlers showed the guile to deceive batsmen, as wicketkeeper Naman Ojha came into play with three catches. With three days remaining, the Bengal bowlers came out for the second time. Ashok Dinda (3-85), Veer Pratap Singh (5-76) reined in MP to 348 in the morning.

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