Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Vinay six-for gives Punjab edge over Bengal

Vinay Choudhary and Baltej Singh picked nine wickets between them as Bengal folded for 138 in the first innings to give Punjab the advantage on day one.

Vinay Choudhary finished with figures of 6 for 54 on day one of Punjab's crucial Ranji Trophy clash against Bengal.   -  PTI Photo

Vinay Choudhary (6 for 54) and Baltej Singh (3 for 16) picked nine wickets between them as Bengal folded for 138 in the first innings to give Punjab the advantage on day one of the Ranji Trophy Elite A match here on Wednesday.

Rohan Marwaha and Mandeep Singh took the host to 93/3 when Akash Deep got rid of Marwaha for 48, signalling stumps. Shahbaz had earlier prised out Abhijeet Garg and Sharad Lumba just after tea.

During the course of the morning, Bengal, having elected to bat, battled a disciplined Punjab attack. Pacers Siddarth Kaul and Baltej bowling in tandem to put brakes on Bengal's innings after captain Abhimanyu Easwaran was bowled through the gate by Singh for a 11-ball duck. Singh then got rid of Kaushik Ghosh who played around his front pad and was trapped in front.

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Abhishek Raman and Arnab Nandi survived close calls early: off-spinner Krishan Alang, bowling the 10th over of the day, launched into one vociferous appeal after another for lbw but to no avail. But the pressure he created was about to tell.

Making use of a wicket with no signs of alarming turn and bounce, Alang kept the batsmen rooted to the crease by bowling dot balls. "Matha thanda korey (play with a calm head)", yelled Bengal coach Arun Lal at one point. But Raman, not heeding Lal's sound advice, stepped out and hit one into the hands of debutant Ramandeep Singh.

That brought Manoj Tiwary to the crease, who along with Shreevats Goswami, made arduous but necessary progress. The duel between Kaul and Tiwary added some spice to the contest, the duo exchanging stares and occasionally, words.

The two had added 47 for the fifth wicket when Goswami fell after lunch, trapped lbw by Vinay Choudhary for 19. Goswami's wicket triggered a collapse as the visitor slipped from 104/5 to 138 all out; Choudhary snapping up three in one over. Tiwary, who remained unbeaten on 73, was the lone ranger with the bat for Bengal.

Brief Scores: Bengal 138 in 49 overs (Manoj Tiwary 73 n.o., Vinay Choudhary 6/54) vs Punjab 93/3 in 38.2 overs (Rohan Marwaha 48). Toss: Bengal.

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