Ranji Trophy: Bengal grinds Odisha after gaining lead

At the end of day three in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal, Bengal's lead had swelled to 161 runs with eight wickets in hand against Odisha.

Bengal players celebrate with bowler Mukesh Kumar on day three.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

Mukesh Kumar’s three-wicket haul helped Bengal gain a crucial 82-run lead on the third day of its Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match against Odisha at the DRIEMS ground here on Saturday.

Odisha, beginning from its overnight total of 151 for four, aggregated only 250 before conceding a healthy first innings lead, which might eventually decide the fate of the match.

At the draw of stumps, Bengal – at 79 for two in its second innings – was in the driver’s seat with an overall lead of 161 runs.

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Odisha batters, captain Subhranshu Senapati and overnight batsman Debabrata Pradhan, negotiated the old leather well for about an hour to add 40 runs.

Bengal took the new ball in the 83rd over and Nilkantha Das immediately provided the breakthrough by having Debabrata (15) caught behind.

Mukesh, who combined well with fellow pacers, made the best use of the new ball on a placid track.

A gritty and disciplined bowler, Mukesh rapped the pads of Biplab Samantray before changing ends to find Rajesh Dhuper’s edge before the lunch break.

In the first over of the middle session, Mukesh bowled Suryakant Pradhan with a yorker.

Ishan Porel claimed the last two wickets, including that of a fighting Senapati (46, 103b, 5x4), to wrap up Odisha’s innings within half-an-hour of resumption.

With a firm control over the contest, Bengal extended its lead before Koushik Ghoash and Abhimanyu Easwaran fell late in the day.

The scores

Bengal -- 1st innings: 332

Odisha -- 1st innings: Shantanu Mishra b Shahbaz 62, Anurag Sarangi c Goswami b Nilkantha 5, Debasish Samantray c Goswami b Nilkantha 68, Govinda Poddar c Majumder b Porel 11, Debabrata Pradhan c Goswami b Nilkantha 15, Subhranshu Senapati c Shahbaz b Porel 46, Biplab Samantray lbw b Mukesh 3, Rajesh Dhuper lbw b Mukesh 10, Suryakant Pradhan b Mukesh 13, Basant Mohanty b Porel 5, Preet Chohan (not out) 4, Extras (b-6, lb-1, w-1) 8, Total (in 102.1 overs) 250

Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-135, 3-145, 4-151, 5-191, 6-198, 7-217, 8-235, 9-241

Bengal bowling: Porel 27.1-10-72-3, Nilkantha 21-8-43-3, Mukesh 26-9-51-3, Shahbaz 23-5-60-1, Nandi 5-0-17-0

Bengal – 2 innings: Koushik Ghosh b Sarangi 41, Abhimanyu Easwaran c Ranjit (sub) b Poddar 30, Abhishek Raman (batting) 4, Manoj Tiwary (batting) 3, Extras (w-1) 1, Total (for two wickets in 45 overs) 79

Fall of wickets: 1-60, 2-76

Odisha bowling: Suryakant 9-3-20-0, Basant 8-3-10-0, Debabrata 8-4-7-0, Chohan 10-0-31-0, Poddar 8-2-8-1, Sarangi 2-0-3-1.

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