Ranji Trophy QF: Easwaran puts Bengal in driver's seat

Abhimanyu Easwaran’s successive show of responsibility resulted in another vital knock, an unbeaten 93 off 218 balls, as Bengal inched forward methodically to be in the driver's seat in its Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match against Gujarat at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium on Saturday.

Abhimanyu Easwaran sparkled with his sure-footed approach as he presented a fine blend of technique and temperament.   -  Special Arrangement

Abhimanyu Easwaran’s successive show of responsibility resulted in another vital knock, an unbeaten 93 off 218 balls, as Bengal inched forward methodically to be in the driver's seat in its Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match against Gujarat at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here on Saturday.

Bengal was at 177 for one in its second innings and enjoyed a substantial lead of 307 runs at the draw of stumps on day three.

Gujarat, starting from its overnight score of 180 for six, added 44 runs to manage a total of 224 in its first essay and concede a lead of 130 runs.

With more than eight sessions left in the match, Bengal progressed cautiously in its second innings. First innings century-maker Abhimanyu and Abhishek Raman stood for a patient 99-run opening wicket partnership to help Bengal achieve its twin objectives of inflating the lead and consuming enough time to deny Gujarat a chance.

SCOREBOARD

Abhimanyu sparkled with his sure-footed approach as he presented a fine blend of technique and temperament. The 22-year-played each delivery on merit and hit 12 boundaries.

Abhishek's quieter innings fitted into the game plan nicely.

A terrible mix-up between Abhimanyu and Abhishek for a single was the only blot in the stand.

The two separated when the left-handed Abhishek was caught at short cover in his attempt to drive off-spinner Rujul Bhatt.

Nevertheless, Abhimanyu formed another useful stand, an unbroken 78, with Writtick Chatterjee (40 off 103 balls, 5x4) to give Bengal a firm grip over the proceedings.

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Earlier, Gujarat's overnight unbeaten pair of Rujul Bhatt and Piyush Chawla carried on earnestly against the hard-working Bengal pacers to collect 75 runs for the seventh wicket.

It was left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik, who provided the crucial breakthrough in his first over of the day. Southpaw Bhatt was bowled in his attempt to play a shot on the onside.

Pace ace Ashoke Dinda struck in the following over as Chawla was caught at deep fine leg playing an ambitious hook.

Siddharth Desai was caught and bowled by Dinda and Ishawar Chaudhary's off-stump was uprooted by Ishan Porel.

Dinda, Porel and B. Amit captured three wickets apiece as Gujarat's innings came to a close one hour before the lunch break.

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