Ranji Trophy: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Manoj Tiwary keep Bengal afloat

Opener Abhimanyu Easwaran and No. 4 Manoj Tiwary put together an unbeaten partnership of 180 to help Bengal put up a stern resistance in its second dig.

Rescue mission: Manoj Tiwary scored an unbeaten 90 to help Bengal put up a fight in what has been a one-sided contest so far.   -  PTI

Abhimanyu Easwaran and Manoj Tiwary made amends for their below-par first-innings performance as Bengal hindered Punjab’s attempt to press for an outright win in the Ranji Trophy Group ‘B’ match at the Jadavpur University Ground here on Wednesday.

Abhimanyu — who got his second consecutive hundred — and Tiwary batted with great determination to post an unbeaten 180-run stand for the second wicket and help Bengal gather 218 for two in its second innings on Day Three. Trailing by 42 runs, Bengal gives itself a remote chance of wriggling out with a draw on the final day.

Fireworks by Gony

Starting the day on 357 for seven, Punjab rode on Manpreet Gony’s fireworks to score 447 in its first essay and secure a massive 260-run lead.

Using the long handle, the strapping lower-order batsman clubbed the Bengal bowlers to equal his highest score (69 not out, 67b, 6x4, 5x6). Gony, who was caught at long-off by Tiwary off Ashoke Dinda off a no-ball on 21 and hit Anustup Majumder for three sixes and a four in an over, formed a valuable 84-run partnership with Siddharth Kaul for the 10th wicket.

Bengal was in trouble as Gony removed Abhishek Raman and Kaul cart-wheeled Sudip Chatterjee’s off-stump in his first delivery. However, Abhimanyu (100 batting, 157b, 11x4) and Tiwary (90 batting, 146b, 9x4, 1x6) batted with purpose to deny further advantage to Punjab.

Flawless knock

Abhimanyu put a price on his wicket in his flawless knock. After getting set, he rotated strike with ease and played some impressive shots, including a couple of reverse sweeps, to the ropes. Abhimanyu flicked Vinay Choudhury to square-leg for a single to achieve his 10th century.

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Tiwary, who provided three half-chances, grew in confidence and impressed with his timing and placement, especially on the off-side. The Bengal skipper blunted the threat of Kaul, who worked up pace and sent in some well-directed bouncers, to steal 28 runs — including an uppercut for four — off the 38 conceded by the pacer.

Tiwary’s magnificent six over long-on off Choudhary’s bowling spoke of his intent and form. He showed good understanding with Abhimanyu to make the host live another day.

Brief scores:

Bengal 187 & 218/2 (A.R. Easwaran 100 n o, Manoj Tiwary 90 n o, Manpreet Grewal 1/28) vs Punjab 447

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