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.
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.
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.
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