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CIMA Gallary

Bengal bowlers fail to deliver on Day I

- Ojha misses 100 by a run as hosts score 322/5
Naman Ojha

Indore: Madhya Pradesh recovered from early losses to post 322 for five at the end of the first day in their Group A Ranji Trophy match against Bengal at the Holkar Stadium, here on Saturday.

For the hosts, Naman Ojha and Devendra Bundela batted brilliantly. Naman was unfortunate to have missed out on a century by just a run, while Bundela was dismissed on 61.

At stumps, Rameez Khan was batting on 35 along with Jalaj Saxena (44 batting).

Pacer Shami Ahmed was the only Bengal bowler to shine, finishing the day’s play with figures of two for 68. There was a wicket apiece for Abhishek Jhunjhunwala and Veer Pratap Singh.

Bengal’s stand-in captain Wriddhiman Saha won the toss and opted to field, hoping that his side’s fast bowlers will dominate the proceedings on a green-top.

The pacers, particularly Shami Ahmed, got Bengal early breakthroughs. But at the end of the day, Madhya Pradesh’s gritty batting took the wind out of Bengal’s sails.

Bengal certainly missed the services of their star bowler Ashok Dinda, who is warming the reserve bench of the national team.

With their regular captain and batting mainstay Manoj Tiwary sidelined because of a finger injury, Bengal batsmen will also have a big task ahead as the hosts look to be on course to pile up an imposing total.

Coming back to the game, Shami trapped Zafar Ali (10) in front of the wicket in the seventh over of the day and castled Satyam Choudhary (6) soon after.

However, Naman and Bundela steadied the innings with a 127-run stand for the third wicket to push Bengal on to the back foot.

Naman played fluently and was the more aggressive of the two players. His 116-ball innings was laced with 16 hits to the fence and a six before being stumped off part-timer Jhunjhunwala.

Bundela, on the other hand, didn’t lose his focus after Naman’s dismissal as he showed good composure.

Playing his 100th Ranji Trophy match, he scored a patient knock, hitting eight fours and a six in his 157-ball innings before being bowled by Veer Pratap Singh.

Bengal’s woes were compounded as Udit Birla too settled down easily. Udit made a quickfire 50 off 61 balls with seven boundaries. (PTI)