Bengal bowlers toiled for the second consecutive day at the Brabourne stadium in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal on Saturday. Madhya Pradesh stretched the second innings to 161 overs before declaring at 560 for nine on day four.
Ishwar Pandey, Jalaj Saxena and Chandrakant Sakure dismissed three batsmen to leave Bengal at 113 for three, trailing by 674 runs and looking at the difficult task of surviving at the crease for one more day. MP captain Devendra Bundela, clear about his intent, forced the opponent to spend hours on the field. “We tried our best to demoralise Bengal. I will be disappointed if my bowlers don’t get them out. Five-day games give you a time to deal with the situation the way you want,” he said.
Harpreet Singh became the second century-maker (139 off 206 balls) for MP. Opener Rajat Patidar had done his bit a day earlier. Harpreet, previosuly, had one century from 32 first-class matches, averaging 30.11. “We were looking ahead and wanted to give our batsmen as much practise as possible. Harpeet (Singh) has not been among the runs and we thought a big knock will be a boost (for him) before the next game.” Bundela said.
Bengal's left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha bowled 38 overs, finishing with two for 169 before the declaration gave him a breather. The team’s most experienced pair, captain Manoj Tiwary and Wriddhiman Saha, are at the crease and after the first-innings disaster, face another stern examination of batting ability on Sunday.
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