Ranji Trophy: Ankush Bains keeps HP in the game

Ankush Bains was batting on 70 and helped Himachal register 123 for three wickets in 43 overs. Bengal scored 380 in its first innings.

Himachal Pradesh found the going tough against Bengal pacer Ashoke Dinda.   -  Prashant Nakwe

Ankush Bains kept a dominant Bengal at bay and host Himachal Pradesh in the game even as bad light forced play to be called off early on the second day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B here on Friday.

Bains was batting on 70 with Akash Vashisht yet to score as Himachal faltered to 123 for three wickets in 43 overs, the top order failing against the pace and experience of Ashoke Dinda. Off-spinner Aamir Gani, who added 47 runs and built two crucial partnerships with Bodupalli Amit and Dinda lower down the order to propel Bengal to 380 in its first innings, picked up one wicket.

Ranji Trophy, Day 2: As it Happened

Himachal batting, without the services of veteran and middle-order pillar Paras Dogra who has moved on as a professional player for newly inducted Puducherry, struggled to settle down.

Captain Prashant Chopra, who struck a triple century last season, was out early, caught leg-before by Dinda in the third over itself. With Nikhil Gangta also already back in the hut, the likes of Rishi Dhawan more used to using the long handle than slogging it out in the middle and Himachal playing with a largely inexperienced side, Bains would be key to the team fighting back in the third day.

Earlier, Bengal, continuing from its overnight score of 266 for six, kept losing regular wickets to add 114 before folding up for 380 and an early lunch. The 22-year old Gani was the final wicket to fall, trapped in front by Pankaj Jaiswal to complete his fifer in the innings and deny the youngster a half century. Rishi Dhawan and Chopra picked up two wickets apiece.

The scores: Bengal 380 in 116.1 overs (Manoj Tiwary 55, Anustup Majumdar 52, Abhishek Raman 48, Aamir 47, Sudip Chatterjee 43; Rishi Dhawan two for 56, Pankaj Jaiswal five for 81, Prashant Chopra two for 29) vs Himachal Pradesh 124 for three in 43 overs (Ankush Bains batting 79; Ashoke Dinda two for 25).