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Bengal turn it around on Day III

Siliguri: Bengal staged a remarkable fightback to give themselves a winning chance on the third day of their Ranji Trophy match against Railways at the Kanchenjungha Stadium Friday. After conceding a first innings lead of 24, the Bengal bowlers dismissed Railways for a paltry 129 in the second innings.

Chasing 154 for victory, Bengal were 42 for one with Deep Dasgupta unbeaten on 19 and Devang Gandhi on 21.

The only batsman to get out was Amitava Chakraborty for a duck. Devang Gandhi completed 5,000 runs in first-class cricket when he reached 30.

Earlier, veteran left-arm spinner Utpal Chatterjee followed up his five-wicket haul in the first innings with five for 34. This was the 28th five-wicket and seventh ten-wicket match haul for Bengalís highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy.

Off spinner Sourashish Lahiri took two for 24 while medium pacer Laxmi Ratan Shukla chipped in with two crucial top-order wickets.

Earlier in the day, Subhamoy Das went on to complete a well-accomplished half-century. His 62 came off 124 balls and included five fours and a six.

He received good support fromSourashish (11) and Ranadeb Bose (12) helping Bengal to lessen the first-innings deficit. For Railways, Kulamani Parida, S. Saxena and S. Khanolkar took three wickets each.

But the Bengal bowlers struck back taking three quick wickets before lunch. While Ranadeb removed an in-form Khanolkar for a duck, Laxmi took the wickets of J.P. Yadav and T.P. Singh.

In the second session, Sourashish removed Yere Goud (13) and Jacob Martin (4).

Utpal then ran through the lower-order of the Railways line-up. They lost the wickets of Raja Ali, S. Wankhede (top-scorer in the first innings) and Parida in a space of three runs to be reduced to 106 for nine. Harvinder Singh put up some late resistance scoring 21.

Itís now upto the batsmen to deliver the goods. They havenít performed well under pressure this season. Moreover, with the pitch not conducive for batting, they really have their task cut out.

If Bengal taste victory, it will be sweet revenge for the players, who had gone down to Railways in last seasonís Ranji semis.

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