Aided by its captain Manoj Tiwary's 24th first-class hundred and the seamers’ late assault, Bengal was in an advantageous position on the second day of its Ranji Trophy Group D match against Himachal Pradesh at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.
Resuming at 306 for five, the host posted a challenging 419 in its first innings. Bengal pacers Mohammad Shami and Ashok Dinda claimed three wickets in the final 50 minutes as Himachal closed the day at 163 for five, trailing by 256 runs.
Contrasting half-centuries by skipper Sumeet Verma (64 off 59 balls, 7x4) and opener Priyanshu Khanduri (52 off 120, 6x4) enabled Himachal to lay a solid foundation after the loss of Prashant Chopra, who played a wild shot off Dinda in the third over.
READ: Day 1 report
A picture of calmness, Sumeet excelled with his exquisite timing and placement. He chose Shami for special treatment and drove him frequently to the fence in the ‘V.’ Sumeet gathered runs at a faster pace and got good support from a quieter Khanduri, who waited for loose deliveries to cut and pull. They added a valuable 92 runs for the second wicket.
LIVE BLOG: Ranji Trophy - Round 4, Day 2
The breakthrough was provided by seamer Mukesh Kumar as he surprised Sumeet with a rising delivery. Wriddhiman Saha completed a good catch. Bengal made further inroads to push Himachal on the back foot.
Shami, who had given away 52 runs in his first eight overs, showed his mastery over the old ball. He squared up Paras Dogra to induce an edge and trapped Khanduri in front. Dinda had Nikhil Gangta caught behind in the fading light to torment Himachal further.
Earlier, Tiwary played cautiously to score his century. He joined hands with Shreevats Goswami (28) for an important 64-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
The Bengal captain flicked Pankaj Jaswal to mid-wicket for two to reach the landmark in 167 balls before being captured by Sidharth Sharma at mid-on off Rishi Dhawan.
Dhawan, who bowled miserly, returned figures of four for 86 and Jaswal three for 83 as the Bengal innings folded within half-an-hour of the second session.
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