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Tough for Bengal

Mohali: After centuries by Jiwanjot Singh and Mayank Sidhana, Punjab’s wicketkeeper-batsman Uday Kaul hit a fine 165 not out as the home team declared at 579 for seven against Bengal on Sunday.

Trailing by 253 runs, Bengal were in a spot of bother as they ended the third day’s play at 25 for one with experienced opener Subhamoy Das already back in the pavilion.

They still need to score 229 runs to avoid an innings defeat. Punjab thus will be eyeing another outright win with bonus points.

If the match is divided into nine sessions over three days, Bengal have been thrashed in eight of them and that is what precisely has been the reason for this disastrous show.

First it was Jiwanjot (158) and Sidhana (115) who dominated the Bengal bowling with a 224-run second wicket partnership.

While Sidhana’s 194 ball innings had 19 boundaries, Jiwanjot, who is going through a dream phase, lasted 288 balls and hit 17 fours.

Left-hander Uday took over from Jiwanjot as he played 236 balls hitting 24 boundaries. He had two identical partnerships of 103 each with Amitoze Singh (52) and Bipul Sharma (39).

The Bengal bowlers again failed to bowl according to their field.

The worst offender was Ashok Dinda, who gave away 107 runs in his 33 overs. Bengal’s senior-most bowler had a lot of responsibility but his performance was far from what one expects from a man who is in the national reckoning.

Sourav Sarkar’s one-dimensional bowling — getting the ball back into the right-handers — was predictable while Veer Pratap Singh’s inexperience at this level showed.

Manoj Tiwary tried his leg-breaks and was partially successful in removing centurion Jiwanjot but also got punished. (Agencies)