Ranji Trophy: Madhya Pradesh enjoys early honours

Manoj Tiwary’s decision to bowl first and make first use of the Brabourne stadium wicket did not pay off as expected as Madhya Pradesh cruised to 254-4.

Naman Ojha made 64 runs from 116 balls for Madhya Pradesh   -  Akhilesh Kumar (File Photo)

Bengal’s decision to make first use of the Brabourne stadium wicket did not pay off the way captain Manoj Tiwary expected. Madhya Pradesh, asked to bat, reached 254 for four on day one of the five-day Ranji Trophy quarterfinal. The fifth wicket stand between skipper Devendra Bundela and Harpreet Singh (51 no off 88b, 5x4) has thus far fetched 92 runs and is expected to flourish.

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Opener Aditya Srivastava set the tone with 65 (eight boundaries) off 142 balls after a cautious start. He sized up the bowlers’s limitations early enough to get cracking, crisp driving on the off-side and taking him past the half-century mark in 114 balls. Naman Ojha, batting at No. 4 , kept the scoreboard ticking in a 102-run stand for the third wicket.

Srivastava’s exit brought captain Bundela to the crease. Ojha, vice-captain, looked in form before nicking one into the slips off Veer Pratap Singh. Bengal bowlers stuck to their task, but did not dominate the batsmen. Tiwary tried out six bowlers, including fast bowler Ashoke Dinda and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. (1-47). The new ball was taken after 80 overs, no breakthroughs happened for the bowling side.

MP’s fifth wicket pair of Bundela and left-hander Harpreet Singh, having done the grafting against lesser bowlers, survived a spirited show from Dinda and V. P. Singh. The latter displayed excellent judgement of line and length and looked compact at the crease, crossing the 50-mark in 88 balls. The longer he stays in the wicket the more trouble will it be for Bengal.

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