Anmolpreet Singh’s flawless unbeaten century and Shubman Gill’s brilliant 91 guided Punjab to a position of strength against Bengal in the Ranji Trophy Group B match at the Jadavpur University ground here on Tuesday.
Punjab, resuming from 47 for two in the first innings, finished the second day at 357 for seven to secure a healthy lead of 170 runs and tighten its grip over the contest.
Punjab batsmen's pragmatic approach was the key to their success on a surface, which eased up after posing some problems for the home team on the first day.
Overnight unbeaten pair Gill and Anmolpreet began with the right intent. They explored gaps and collected runs at more than four runs an over in the first hour.
The elegant Gill, starting from 36, excelled with his exquisite timing and placement as he picked up 11 boundaries, mostly in the ‘V’ in his 119-ball knock.
Anmol, who began from one and rarely played a false shot, drove spectacularly with a straight bat while complementing Gill in an 89-run stand.
Bengal, which gave its strike bowler Ashoke Dinda three overs in the initial two hours, looked clueless and conceded 132 runs in the opening session.
The host must have thanked Gill for stepping out and hitting Mukesh to wide mid-off on the brink of getting a century.
Anmolpreet (124 off 288) shouldered the responsibility as he combined with Mandeep Singh (44 off 95, 4x4), who benefitted from a missed stumping chance off Pramanik on 20, and Gitansh Khera (42 off 66, 7x4) for partnerships worth 83 and 80 runs respectively even as the ball kept low in the afternoon.
Anmolpreet's first hundred of the season and fourth overall, dotted with 13 fours and a six to the sight screen off Aamir Gani, practically ended Bengal's challenge.
Showing discipline, Mukesh, who had claimed two wickets on the previous night, had his fourth wicket by having Mandeep caught beautifully in the slips.
Pramanik, who started with the prized scalp of Yuvraj Singh, banked on mistakes Gurkeerat Mann and Khera's mistakes to capture three wickets.
Bengal first innings: 187
Punjab first innings: Jiwanjot Singh c Goswami b Mukesh 10, Shubman Gill c Sudip b Mukesh 91, Mayank Markande b Mukesh 0, Anmolpreet Singh (batting) 124, Mandeep Singh c Abhimanyu b Mukesh 44, Yuvraj Singh b Pramanik 1, Gurkeerat Mann c Dinda b Pramanik 12, Gitansh Khera b Pramanik 42, Vinay Choudhary (batting) 10.
Extras (b-9, lb-8, nb-3, w-3) 23.
Total (for seven wickets in 110 overs) 357
Fall of wickets: 1-40, 2-40, 3-129, 4-212, 5-228, 6-246, 7-326.
Bowling: Dinda 19-4-55-0, Mukesh 27-4-89-4, Pramanik 37-5-100-3, Gani 18-1-66-0, Writtick 8-1-24-0, Majumder 1-0-6-0.