Abhimanyu Easwaran (77, 154b, 10x4) and Sudip Gharami (68, 109b, 11x4) struck timely half-centuries as Bengal got to 238 for five to establish a 65-run first innings lead over Jharkhand on the second day of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.
Beginning its reply to Jharkhand’s 173, Bengal lost young southpaw Kazi Saifi cheaply, but benefitted from a 136-run stand between Abhimanyu and Gharami to secure a handy lead.
Jharkhand new ball bowlers, Ashish Kumar and Rahul Shukla, gave a good account of their skills in the first session. But Abhimanyu and Gharami applied themselves in the early testing hours and laid a good foundation.
Abhimanyu displayed his discipline to stay put and relied on his superb timing to get some boundaries, particularly in the ‘V.’
Gharami, occasionally fiddled with danger and was dropped on 27, impressed with his eye-catching strokes all over the ground.
The two ran well to keep the scorers busy.
Jharkhand’s seasoned left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem provided the breakthrough in the post-lunch session. Gharami flashed at a wide delivery to be caught at first slip.
Three overs later, Abhimanyu experienced a lapse in concentration and was caught behind off medium pacer Supriyo Chakraborty.
Even while batting during the best phase of the day, Anustup Majumdar and captain Manoj Tiwary consumed 91 deliveries for a 24-run stand. As a result, Bengal’s run rate dipped below three runs.
Tiwary was trapped in front while playing across a fuller ball from Supriyo, who consistently bowled a good line in a long spell.
Anustup was bowled by left-arm spinner Anukul Roy, as the ball turned a little.
The left-handed pair of Shahbaz Nadeem and Abishek Porel gathered runs at a quicker rate to form an unbroken 31-run partnership and give the host hopes for a better tomorrow.
Jharkhand -- 1st innings: 173
Bengal -- 1st innings: Kazi Saifi lbw b Ashish 1, Abhimanyu Easwaran c Kushagra b Supriyo 77, Sudip Gharami c Virat b Nadeem 68, Anustup Majumdar b Anukul 25, Manoj Tiwary lbw b Supriyo 13, Shahbaz Ahmed (batting) 17, Abishek Porel (batting) 25, Extras (lb-11, w-1) 12, Total (for five wickets in 81 overs) 238
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-147, 3-159, 4-183, 5-207
Jharkhand bowling: Ashish 22-1-57-1, Rahul 16-5-39-0, Supriyo 21-3-68-2, Nadeem 13-0-48-1, Anukul 9-3-15-1.