Rajkot/ Calcutta: Buoyed by his call-up to the Indian Test side, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja snared four Bengal wickets and then scored an undefeated 67 to put Saurashtra in complete command in a Ranji Trophy Group A league encounter here on Sunday.
Jadeja took four for 48 as Bengal were dismissed for a paltry 112 runs in 61.4 overs — 97 short of Saurashtra’s first innings score of 209. In reply, the hosts reached 134 for four at stumps, consolidating their lead to 231 and have a good chance of getting six points on a track where the ball is turning square.
Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary fought hard but was unable to continue after scoring 55.
Tiwary felt a pain in his back before 'collapsing' on the ground. He was immediately taken to a hospital where he underwent a scan. The initial reports of the scan suggested that he has a muscle tear in his back. Team manager Samir Dasgupta informed that the doctors have advised the Bengal captain rest.
This would effectively mean that the captain will miss Bengal's next match against Hyderabad from Saturday.
With Manoj's departure, the fight of the Bengal batsman ended as the visitors' innings was terminated at 112 for nine.
Apart from Tiwary, only opener Arindam Das reached double figures scoring 20 while the players with like Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (9), Debabrata Das (8), Wriddhiman Saha (6), Laxmi Ratan Shukla (5) couldn’t show stomach for fight on a pitch which wasn’t exactly conducive for batting.
The highest partnership in the Bengal innings was 24 runs for the fifth wicket between Tiwary and Jhunjhunwala.
Left-arm spinner Nayan Doshi justified his return to the playing XI picking up three wickets for only 24 runs.
Jadeja scored his second half century of the match smashing nine fours and two sixes en route his unbeaten 67 off 59 balls. He knew that survival was difficult on this track and successfully hit his way out of attack. He added 61 runs for the unbroken fifth-wicket stand with Sheldon Jackson (16 batting).
As of now, Saurashtra look firm favourites to wrap up the match by the end of the third day as Bengal’s batting doesn’t have the firepower to counter Jadeja-Doshi twin threat.