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regular-article-logo Sunday, 23 June 2024

Ranji Trophy: Lead earned, lapses hurt

Bengal are more or less assured of finishing this game with three points unless fourth and final day turns out to be a super eventful one

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 06.01.23, 05:21 AM
Pradipta Pramanik.

Pradipta Pramanik. Picture courtesy CAB

Two no-balls and a few dropped catches did hurt Bengal, but they managed to ensure the much-needed first-innings lead against Uttarakhand in their Ranji Trophy Group A clash in Dehradun on Thursday.

At stumps on Day III at the Abhimanyu Cricket Academy ground, Bengal were 48/1 in their second innings after limiting Uttarakhand to 272. Both Abhimanyu Easwaran and Sudip Gharami were batting on 24.

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With an overall lead of 163 so far, Bengal are more or less assured of finishing this game with three points unless the fourth and final day turns out to be a super eventful one. It remains to be seen if Bengal batters can score briskly in the first session on Friday and announce a sporting declaration in order to enforce a victory.

The pitch doesn’t seem to be having much in favour of the bowlers. But having said that, Bengal could certainly have been in an even stronger position had pacer Akash Deep and spinner all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed not over-stepped to let overnight batsmen Chandela and Akhil Rawat off.

Rawat, in fact, was dismissed in the final session of the second day itself while Shahbaz, having rattled the stumps of Chandela, found he had bowled a no-ball. Chandela had just crossed 50 then.

Obviously, if not for those lapses, Bengal would seriously have had a far better chance of winning this contest against the group toppers. Chandela went on to score a century, which appears to be a match-saving one for Uttarakhand before being the last man to be dismissed, off the bowling of left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik (4/58) — the man to return with the best figures among Bengal bowlers.

Also, this was another occasion this season when Bengal’s bowlers couldn’t polish off the opposition’s lower order. Uttarakhand’s No.9, Abhay Negi, scored 50 and stitched 128 with Chandela for the eighth wicket. That was frustrating for Bengal.

Such a situation, though, may not have arisen had the lapses been avoided.

Brief scores: Bengal 387 & 48/1. Uttarakhand 272 (K. Chandela 136; P. Pramanik 4/58). At stumps, Day III.

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