Ranji Trophy: Mukesh, Dinda help Bengal snatch first innings lead

The Bengal pace duo of Mukesh Kumar and former India star Ashoke Dinda bowled impressive spells to finish with highly creditable, four-wicket hauls each as Bengal grabbed a vital 24-run first innings lead.

The decisive blow by Bengal early on the fourth day morning set the tone as it grabbed the all-important first innings lead against Hyderabad. Here, Rohit Rayudu shouldered his arms to a Mukesh Kumar delivery to signal Bengal's ascendancy in the game.   -  K.V.S. Giri

Bengal struck a decisive blow very early in the final morning when pacer Mukesh Kumar cleaned up the well-set Rohit Rayudu, who strangely shouldered arms misreading the swing. From then on, there was no way Hyderabad could come back into the game as it eventually conceded the vital first innings lead of 24 runs as the four-day Ranji Trophy Group B match ended in a draw at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Monday.

As the day four happened

Hyderabad had definite hopes of going the distance resuming at the overnight score of 204 for four but, in overcast conditions with the sun not coming out for the entire day Bengal pacers had other intentions — picking wickets at regular intervals.

Once Rayudu, who missed a deserving century, was back in the pavilion, the rest failed to rise to the occasion as the pace duo of Mukesh and former India star Ashoke Dinda bowled impressive spells to finish with highly creditable, four-wicket hauls each.

The only resistance came from Saaketh Sai Ram and there was a phase when the home team would have still entertained faint hopes of clinching the lead as he framed the strike well with the tail around but none of the lower-order batsmen including debutant and wicketkeeper-batsman K.S.K. Chaitanya could meet the expectations.

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Eventually, Saaketh, trapped lbw by pacer by Ishan Porel, was the last man out, 10 overs after the lunch break triggering off celebrations in Bengal camp.

Once the first innings lead was settled, the rest of the day’s play was a mere formality.

Hyderabad, which plays Punjab the penultimate league game here from December 22, now has 13 points from six games while Bengal has from five matches.

Brief Scores:

At Hyderabad: Bengal 336 & 49 for one in 14 overs vs. Hyderabad 312 in 123.1 overs (K. Rohit Rayudu 93, Himalay Agarwal 65, Ashoke Dinda four for 88, Mukesh Kumar four for 54); Points: Bengal 3(15), Hyderabad 1(13).