Ranji Trophy: Following on, HP blocks Bengal's push for an early win

Armed with a first innings lead of 213 runs, Bengal chose to tighten the screw and asked Himachal to follow on. Prashant Chopra and Priyanshu Khanduri led Himachal's remarkable resistance and dug in to add 125 runs for the opening stand.

Himachal Pradesh's Prashant Chopra (left) and Priyanshu Khanduri put on 125 runs for the first wicket in the second innings on Day 3.

Himachal Pradesh rode on the resilient showing of Prashant Chopra, Priyanshu Khanduri and Nikhil Gangta to block Bengal's push for an early win in the Ranji Trophy Group D match at the Eden Gardens here on Friday. Himachal, which was all out for 206 in reply to Bengal's first innings total of 419, was at 207 for two in its second essay and six runs shy of erasing the deficit, on the third day. Armed with a first innings lead of 213 runs, Bengal chose to tighten the screw and asked Himachal to follow on. Chopra and Khanduri led Himachal's remarkable resistance and dug in to add 125 runs for the opening stand.

Chopra (81 off 103 balls) found the gaps and rotated the strike nicely. He gathered eight boundaries on both sides of the wicket in his 12th half-century before being adjudged lbw off Mukesh Kumar in the 33rd over. A patient Khanduri (67 not out off 167 balls, 7x4, 1x6) had nerves of steel. The 22-year-old, who scored his second half-century of the match, started watchfully before playing some big shots.

Khanduri, who survived a deadly toe-crusher and a bad fall in Shami's bowling, joined forces with the gritty Gangta (43 not out off 65 balls, 6x4) to build another crucial unbeaten 78-run partnership for the third wicket.

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Displaying tremendous application and compact defence, the hard working Himachal pair survived some strong appeals and batted commendably when the pace duo of Mohammad Shami and Ashok Dinda hit good areas and posed trouble.

LIVE BLOG: Ranji Trophy — Round 4, Day 3

In the morning, Bengal wrapped up the Himachal first innings in about 90 minutes. Resuming from 163 for five, Himachal could add just 43 runs as Shami and Dinda meant business.

READ: Day 2 report

Shami breathed fire and extracted movement to put pressure, while Dinda bowled on target to complete his 24th five-wicket haul.