Pacer Ashok Dinda produced yet another fine performance for Bengal with a five-wicket haul that helped his team secure a first innings lead against Goa in the Group D Ranji Trophy match at the Eden Gardens on Monday. With a day’s action remaining and the match heading towards a draw, Bengal’s chances of making it to the quarterfinals is almost certain.
In reply to Bengal’s first innings total of 379, Goa was dismissed for 310 as Dinda added two more wickets to his overnight haul to finish with impressive figures of five for 79. This was the 25th occasion that Dinda had picked up five wickets in an innings in first-class cricket.
Beginning on the overnight score of 191 for five, Goa saw its unbeaten pair of Amogh Desai and Keenan Vaz tackling the Bengal pace attack well in the morning. The two build up a partnership of 110 runs for the sixth wicket and threatened to give the host some anxious moments. But Dinda came in the right moment to pick up Vaz (60), who mistimed a drive to be caught a cover region by Abhimanyu Easwaran.
The only man who could withstand the Bengal bowling attack was Desai. He remained unbeaten on 103 (264 b, 4x14) while scoring his sixth first-class century. He had a 52-run partnership with Heramb Parab for the ninth wicket, which did not help much except taking Goa’s score past 300. Dinda had Parab as his fifth victim.
At stumps on the third day, Bengal scored 108 for three in 25 overs, extending its overall lead to 177 runs. Opener Easwaran (20) and the centurion of first innings Shreevats Goswami (15) were at the crease taking Bengal’s fight to the final day.
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