Ranji Trophy: Twin centuries not enough
Both Manoj Tiwary (102) and Shahbaz Ahmed (116) ensured to reach three figures. Yet, Bengal couldn’t clinch the crucial first innings lead in their Ranji Trophy semi-final versus Madhya Pradesh at the Alur Cricket Stadium (near Bangalore).
Resuming at 197 for 5 on Day III, Tiwary, scoring his second successive century, and Shahbaz did quite well to add 40 more to the total.
But following Tiwary’s departure off Saransh Jain, the rest of the batting order got cleaned up quickly as Bengal’s first innings ended at 273, surrendering a 68-run first innings lead to Madhya Pradesh.
Thereafter, Mukesh Kumar and Pradipta Pramanik removed openers Yash Dubey and first innings centurion Himanshu Mantri quickly to raise Bengal’s hopes a little bit. But Rajat Patidar played yet another compact knock (63 batting) with assistance from captain Aditya Shrivastava (34 batting) as Madhya Pradesh were strongly placed at 163 for 2 at stumps on Thursday.
Their lead is now 231 with the game gradually going out of Bengal’s reach. If Bengal are to keep their hopes alive, they need to make early inroads on Day IV and restrict Madhya Pradesh’s lead to within 350.
“We need to get them out as quickly as possible (on Friday). All of us have to be on our toes for that to happen,” Tiwary said after the day’s play.
What worsened matters for Bengal is their No.8 batter, all-rounder Sayan Shekhar Mondal who was fresh from a half-century in the quarter final versus Jharkhand, perishing for nought.
Brief scores: Madhya Pradesh 341 & 163/2 (R. Patidar 63 batting). Bengal 273 (M. Tiwary 102, S. Ahmed 116). Stumps, Day III