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Bengal concede lead

Hyderabad, Dec. 21 (PTI): Laxmi Ratan Shukla waged a lone battle as Hyderabad prevented Bengal from taking the crucial first-innings lead on Day 3 of the four-day Ranji Trophy elite group match Saturday.

Chasing Hyderabad’s 395, the visitors were all out for 313 to concede a lead of 82. Shukla remained unbeaten on 84. Hyderabad stretched their overall lead to 209 as they reached 127 for one in the second innings.

With just one day remaining, Bengal are unlikely to force an outright win which means they will be leaving Hyderabad without a point. Both teams have played three matches and while Bengal have two points, Hyderabad have one.

Bengal resumed at 122 for three, looking forward to a substantial partnership between skipper Rohan Gavaskar and Deep Dasgupta. But Rohan could add just eight to his overnight 12.

The Deep-Rohan association was worth 72. Deep went on to make 65, but there was no meaningful contribution from any of the other middle-order batsmen as Bengal slumped to 191 for seven.

But Shukla refused to give up and added 66 for the eighth wicket with Utpal Chatterjee. The veteran made 36 before being dismissed by Vishnuvardhan with the total reading 257 for eight.

Shukla continued to frustrate the home team bowlers in the company of tail-enders, but finally ran out of partners and missed out on what would have been a well-deserved maiden first-class hundred.

The former international, who scored a century as opener in a Wills Trophy match against Delhi in Jamshedpur in 1999, played some elegant shots. He spent 160 minutes at the wicket, faced 125 balls and cracked 13 boundaries.

X-ray for Subhamoy

Another X-ray was done on injured middle-order batsman Subhamoy Das who was sent back from Hyderabad following an injury to the waist. The earlier X-ray that was done in Hyderabad was not conclusive and it was told there does not seem to be any bone injury as shown earlier. A final decision about his comeback is expected Sunday.

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