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Bengal batsmen falter

Mumbai: Bengal opener Arindam Das carried his bat through for an unbeaten 98 but could not prevent hosts Mumbai from taking a handy 96-run first innings lead on the second day of the four-day Ranji Trophy Group A match Sunday.

Arindam, who was not in the initial probables list, batted for nearly five hours but didn’t get enough support at the other end as only skipper Manoj Tiwary (39) crossed the 20-run mark. Bengal were bowled out for 201 in 65.4 overs.

Mumbai scored 297 in their first essay with all-rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla ending up with a five-wicket haul.

Playing his 71st first-class match, veteran opener Arindam faced 199 balls and hit 16 fours in the process. Left-arm spinner Ankit Chavan had the best figures of four for 61. Mumbai were six for no loss in the second essay.

With none of the other Bengal batsmen, barring skipper Tiwary, giving Das meaningful support, the Mumbai bowlers stuck to their task relentlessly on a wicket affording good carry for the new ball bowlers and copious turn for Chavan, in particular.

Das and Tiwary put on 72 runs in 120 balls and 101 minutes, but once this third wicket partnership was broken by Chavan, who induced the rival skipper to drive on the up for a catch at mid-off, things went downhill for Bengal. They lost their last five wickets for just 51 runs in 18.2 overs.

The only other batsman apart from Das and Tiwary to reach double figures was Subhamoy Das (19). He was dropped at second slip off Chavan but failed to capitalise and fell to the next ball, caught at first slip to leave Bengal at 132 for 5.

Bengal began the day well with Shukla picking up the wicket of Ramesh Powar to end up with five wickets. Left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena added two more to his tally to finish with a haul of four for 105.