RANJI TROPHY | Bengal has the advantage after Mukesh and Jaiswal’s superlative bowling

CRICKET | The host’s seamers snap up four wickets each as Bihar is bundled out for a paltry 95; Abhimanyu then motors to an unbeaten 48

February 16, 2024 07:07 pm | Updated 07:07 pm IST - KOLKATA

Bengal bowlers Mukesh Kumar and Suraj Jaiswal after the end of Bihar’s 1st inning of their Ranji Trophy match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024.

Bengal bowlers Mukesh Kumar and Suraj Jaiswal after the end of Bihar’s 1st inning of their Ranji Trophy match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

Seamers Mukesh Kumar and Suraj Jaiswal took four wickets apiece to provide Bengal an upper hand against Bihar on the opening day of their final Ranji Trophy Group-B match at the Eden Gardens here on Friday.

Determined to give skipper Manoj Tiwary a deserving farewell, the host rode on Mukesh and Jaiswal’s dominating performances to bundle out Bihar, which was asked to bat, for a paltry 95.

Led by opener Abhimanyu Easwaran’s unbeaten 48 (69b, 6x4), Bengal was at 111 for two, with a 16-run lead, at stumps.

On a greenish track, Bengal’s pacers were too good for Bihar’s batters.

Jaiswal drew first blood by trapping Piyush Singh in front in the second over.

Mangal Mahrour and Rishav Raj held fort for some time before first-change bowler Mohammad Kaif had the former caught behind in the 13th over.

Returning from India duty, Mukesh made further inroads as he bowled Bipin Saurabh in the next over. He bowled a good line to scalp a patient Rishav, Sakibul Gani and Veer Pratap Singh in a miserly performance.

The promising Jaiswal got some help from the deck to pick up three more wickets as Bengal wrapped up the Bihar innings in the post-lunch session.

Bengal batter Abhimanyu Easwaran plays a shot during the Ranji Trophy match against Bihar, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024.

Bengal batter Abhimanyu Easwaran plays a shot during the Ranji Trophy match against Bihar, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Bengal opening duo of Abhimanyu and left-handed debutant Shakir Habib Gandhi added 35 runs before Veer Pratap Singh, bowling round the wicket, spectacularly uprooted the latter’s off-stump.

Abhimanyu, who executed some lovely drives to the boundary, gathered 57 with Karan Lal and showed his intent to build another partnership with Anustup Majumdar.

The scores: Bihar — 1st innings: Piyush Singh lbw b Jaiswal 1, Mangal Mahrour c Abishek b Kaif 8, Rishav Raj c Abishek b Mukesh 26, Bipin Saurabh b Mukesh 1, Sakibul Gani lbw b Mukesh 14, Raghuvendra Pratap c Abishek b Jaiswal 23, Paramjeet Singh c Anustup b Jaiswal 6, Veer Pratap Singh c Gandhi b Mukesh 7, Ashutosh Aman b Jaiswal 0, Ravi Shankar (run out) 1, Y.P. Yadav (not out) 0; Extras (b-4, nb-4): 8; Total (in 46.4 overs): 95.

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-15, 3-20, 4-52, 5-53, 6-60, 7-71, 8-72, 9-89.

Bengal bowling: Mukesh 14-5-18-4, Jaiswal 18.4-9-47-4, Kaif 11-3-19-1, Shahbaz 3-0-7-0.

Bengal — 1st innings: Shakir Habib Gandhi b Veer Pratap 19, Abhimanyu Easwaran (batting) 48, Karan Lal c Bipin b Ravi Shankar 28, Anustup Majumdar (batting) 13; Extras (nb-2, w-1): 3; Total (for two wickets in 33 overs): 111.

Fall of wickets: 1-36, 2-92.

Bihar bowling: Veer Pratap 12-3-38-1, Y.P. Yadav 6-1-20-0, Raghuvendra Pratap 5-1-27-0, Gani 5-1-12-0, Ravi Shankar 5-0-14-1.

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