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Assam skipper saves the day

Guwahati, Dec. 23: A patient half-century by skipper Abhishek Thakuri salvaged some pride for hosts Assam as the side was bundled out for 159 in 88 overs on the first day of their three-day Vijay Merchant Trophy under-16 East Zone match against Bengal at Nehru Stadium here today.

Batting first, Assam had a disastrous opening with Akshay Narain out for a duck off the very first delivery of the second over of Ishan Porel with the scoreboard reading nought.

However, Thakuri (64, 7x4) shared a 69-run partnership with opener Riyan Parag, who remained unbeaten, anchoring the innings with only 31 runs laced with five boundaries off 207 balls, for the second wicket before being stumped by keeper Kazi Junaid Saifi off left arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik.

Barring the two, none of the Assam batsmen could score in double figures. Thanks to 42 runs which came in as extras, the home side’s total reached a figure which could be defended successfully if the bowlers apply themselves.

Off-spinner Irfan Ansari wreaked havoc midway in the Assam innings to bag four wickets for 16 runs off 13 overs while pacer Angshuman Chakraborty notched up three tailenders for 10 runs and Ishan Porel picked up two for 39.

The visitors were 27 for one in five overs at the close of the day’s play.

After losing opener Sourav Pal (6), stumped by Abhishek Thakuri off left arm spinner Akshay Narain, Koustav Singh and Kazi Junaid Saifi were batting on 17 (2x4) and two respectively at draw of stumps.