Ranji Trophy 2018-19: MP salvages draw against Bengal

Aryaman remained unbeaten on 103 in his third first-class match, while Shubham Sharma gave him fine support with 100 not out on the fourth day to hand Madhya Pradesh a point in its Ranji Trophy Elite Group B fixture.

Aryaman Birla slammed his maiden first-class century.   -  PTI

Left-handed opener Aryaman Birla slammed his maiden first-class century to help Madhya Pradesh salvage a draw following on, as Bengal had to settle for three points in its first Ranji Trophy home match of the season, here, on Thursday.

Scion of the Birla family, Aryaman remained unbeaten on 103 in his third first-class match, while Shubham Sharma gave him fine support with 100 not out on the fourth day to hand Madhya Pradesh a point in its Ranji Trophy Elite Group B fixture.

Bengal, which enjoyed first innings lead in its last match in Himachal Pradesh, has now six points from two games. Having taken a first innings lead over Tamil Nadu in its last match, Madhya Pradesh now has four points.

As it happened: Ranji Trophy 2018-19, Round 2 Day 4

Reeling at 69 for three in their second innings after being asked to follow-on, the 21-year-old opener showed the fine application with Sharma as the duo managed the rescue act in an unbroken 171-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

Son of business tycoon Kumar Mangalam Birla, Aryaman hit 12 boundaries and one six during his 189-balls, unbeaten innings, while Sharma was a bit more aggressive in his 134-ball knock that included 11 fours and a hit over the fence.

With little assistance from the wicket, Bengal, which was playing with four bowlers, suffered further setbacks as it sorely missed its frontline pace duo of Ashok Dinda (swollen knee) and Ishan Porel (blisters) for the most part of the second innings.

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Pace spearhead Dinda could bowl only an over and had to leave the field, while Porel bowled seven overs, leaving Bengal with a big task to bowl Madhya Pradesh out twice.

“They will be fit for our next match (against Kerala from November 20). The wicket was very difficult for the bowlers and we are satisfied with three points,” Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary said. Tiwary said that it went for an extra batsman because of Madhya Pradesh’s strong bowling attack.

“We have to see if the wicket is result oriented in our next match. We have to go for six points,” Tiwary said, with a note of caution as five teams from a combined pool of two Elite groups of A and B will make the cut. “We have three home matches left — Kerala, Delhi and Punjab. We will look to score maximum,” he added.

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Bengal will miss the services of promising opener Abhimanyu Easwaran, who will represent India A in the tour of New Zealand beginning Saturday.

Earlier, starting at the overnight score of 254 for five in its first innings, Madhya Pradesh was bowled out with the addition of just 81 runs in the first hour’s play, conceding a 175-run lead. Dinda returned with four for 78, while part-timer Anustup Majumdar bagged three for 38.

Majumdar further dismissed skipper Naman Ojha in the second innings en route to his two for 60 as Madhya Pradesh was in trouble at 69 for three inside 27 overs. But, Sharma joined forces with Aryaman to deny Bengal any more success.

Brief Scores:

Bengal 510 for 9 declared vs Madhya Pradesh 335 in 105.5 overs (Naman Ojha 74, Rajat Patidar 49, Shubham Sharma 45; Ashok Dinda 4/78, Anustup Majumdar 3/38) and 240 for 3 in 68.2 overs (Aryaman Birla 103 not out, Shubham Sharma 100; Majumdar 3/60). Match drawn. Points: Bengal 3, Madhya Pradesh 1.