Ranji Trophy: Bengal rides on Tiwary, Mandal fifties; Chandigarh under pressure

Sayan Shekhar Mandal – who made handy contributions against Hyderabad on his return to first-class cricket after five years – scored an unbeaten 97.

Bengal batters Manoj Tiwary and Sayan Shekhar Mandal in action against Chandigarh at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Friday.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

Sayan Shekhar Mandal's superb all-round performance put Bengal in a commanding position in its Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match against Chandigarh at the Barabati Stadium here on Friday.

The 32-year-old Mandal – who made handy contributions against Hyderabad on his return to first-class cricket after five years – scored an unbeaten 97 (142b, 13x4) to help Bengal post a formidable 437 in its first innings and bowled with accuracy to claim two important wickets.

Chandigarh worked hard to be at 133 for six, with Ankit Kaushik (30) and Gaurav Gambhir (11) holding the fort, at the end of day two.

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Bengal, resuming from 329 for six, added 108 runs to its previous evening’s aggregate. The highlight of the opening session included half-centuries by overnight batters Manoj Tiwary and Mandal, who negotiated the seaming conditions well to stretch the seventh wicket stand to 82.

A West Bengal minister, Tiwary (53, 99b, 4x4, 1x6), beginning from 42, scored a much-awaited fifty before falling to Jagjit Singh Sandhu.

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Mandal, starting from 33, had another useful partnership worth 72 runs with Mukesh Kumar (28) to take Bengal past 400.

Following the dismissal of Mukesh and Ishan Porel in consecutive deliveries of left-arm spinner Gurinder Singh, the left-handed Mandal, who began watchfully, switched gears with the aid of some attractive fours on the off-side.

Mandal was stranded three short of a century as Jagjit claimed No.11, Nilkantha Das, to complete his second successive fifer.

Mandal and his fellow seamers, including Nilkantha and Mukesh, showed discipline to make things happen in the last two sessions.

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Mukesh provided the breakthrough by scalping under-19 World Cupper Harnoor Singh.

Southpaw Arslan Khan and captain Manan Vohra (35) gathered 50 runs patiently before the latter drove Mandal to the cover fielder.

Nilkantha, who replaced an injured Akash Deep, bagged three wickets because of his tidiness. One of his deliveries brushed the strong-willed Arslan’s gloves and Tiwary took a spectacular catch before tea.

Nilkantha struck twice in an over to get rid of Amrit Lubana and Jaskaran Sohi in the final period.

Mandal’s medium pace proved useful again as he accounted for Gurinder.

The Teja show

T. Ravi Teja shone with both bat and ball to guide Hyderabad to a strong position against Baroda in the other Group B match at the Vikash Cricket Ground.

Ravi and B.Punnaiah claimed four wickets apiece to restrict Baroda, which began from 92 for two, to 163 and ensure a 34-run first-innings lead for Hyderabad.

Ravi contributed an unbeaten 36 to help his side close the day at 169 for six and secure an overall lead of 203 runs.   

The scores:

Bengal -- 1st innings: Sudip Gharami b Jagjit 0, Abhimanyu Easwaran c Arslan b Jagjit 114, Ritwik Roy Chowdhury b Jaskarandeep 12, Anustup Majumdar lbw b Gambhir 95, Manoj Tiwary c Sohi b Jagjit 53, Abishek Porel c Harnoor b Jagjit 0, Shahbaz Ahmed c Gurinder b Gambhir 6, Sayan Shekhar Mandal (not out) 97, Mukesh Kumar b Gurinder 28, Ishan Porel c Sohi b Gurinder 0, Nilkantha Das c Sohi b Jagjit 1, Extras (b-7, lb-13, w-3, nb-8) 31, Total (in 115.3 overs) 437

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-42, 3-235, 4-246, 5-249, 6-268, 7-350, 8-422, 9-422

Chandigarh bowling: 31.3-7-87-5, Nirmohi 25-6-75-0, Jaskarandeep 19-1-88-1, Gurinder 11-0-56-2, Gambhir 25-2-86-2, Kaushik 4-0-25-0.

Chandigarh – 1st innings: Arslan Khan c Tiwary b Nilkantha 19, Harnoor Singh b Mukesh 15, Manan Vohra c Gharami b Mandal 35, Amrit Lubana c Gharami b Nilkantha 10, Ankit Kaushik (batting) 30, Jaskaran Sohi lbw b Nilkantha 0, Gurinder Singh c Abishek b Mandal 4, Gaurav Gambhir (batting) 11, Extras (lb-8, w-1) 9, Total (for six wkts in 52 overs) 133

Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-71, 3-78, 4-97, 5-97, 6-105

Bengal bowling: Mukesh 16-3-46-1, Nilkantha 14-4-25-3, Ishan 9-1-33-0, Mandal 8-2-10-2, Shahbaz 5-1-11-0.

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