Sudip Gharami’s fluent century enabled Bengal to set a huge target for Himachal Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy Group-A match at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.
The home team, beginning its second innings at 89 for one, declared at 291 for five. Himachal, chasing an improbable 472 in four sessions, was at 79 for one at the draw of stumps on the penultimate day.
Bengal made steady progress without conceding much ground to Himachal in the opening period. Overnight batter Kouchik Ghosh fell to Rishi Dhawan in the first hour and Anustup Majumdar (38, 64b, 5x4), who added 52 with Gharami, lost his wicket to Sidharth Sharma before lunch.
Gharami (101, 166b, 12x4) played his natural game and showcased some excellent drives and flicks on either side. With conditions tilting towards the batters, the 23-year-old, who scored his second First Class hundred, was involved in a crucial 106-run partnership with captain Manoj Tiwary and this helped the host practically push Himachal out of the contest.
Tiwary (50, 83b, 5x4), who played the supporting role well, was claimed by spinner Mayank Dagar before Gharami became Sidharth’s second wicket.
After Bengal declared at tea, the Himachal batters played according to the situation with opener Prashant Chopra (44 n.o., 66b, 7x4) again showing responsibility in his unbeaten knock. He gathered 45 with Raghav Dhawan and 34 with the other unbeaten batter Ankit Kalsi.
“I am very happy to contribute for my team. I wanted to do well in the second innings after I did not get many runs in the first. I had the freedom to play my natural game,” said Gharami.
Bengal — 1st innings: 310.
Himachal Pradesh — 1st innings: 130.
Bengal — 2nd innings: Abhisek Das lbw b Vaibhav 35, Koushik Ghosh c & b Rishi 23, Sudip Gharami c Kalsi b Sidharth 101, Anustup Majumdar c Thakur b Sidharth 38, Manoj Tiwary c Vashisht b Dagar 50, Shahbaz Ahmed (not out) 19, Abishek Porel (not out) 11; Extras (b-12, lb-2): 14; Total (for five wkts. decl. in 74 overs): 291.
Fall of wickets: 1-36, 2-98, 3-150, 4-256, 5-262.
Himachal Pradesh bowling: Vaibhav 16-1-84-1, Rishi 16-2-39-1, Sidharth 16-1-53-2, Vashisht 2-0-13-0, K.D. Singh 12-1-35-0, Raghav 3-1-14-0, Dagar 9-0-39-1.
Himachal Pradesh — 2nd innings: Raghav Dhawan run out 14, Prashant Chopra (batting) 44, Ankit Kalsi (batting) 17; Extras (lb-3, nb-1): 4; Total (for one wkt. in 25 overs): 79.
Fall of wicket: 1-45.
Bengal bowling: Ishan 6-1-26-0, Ravi Kant 5-1-16-0, Shahbaz 9-2-18-0, Akash 4-0-14-0, Gharami 1-0-2-0.