Bengal on Monday continued from where they stopped by tightening their grip over the Ranji Trophy semifinal against Karnataka in Kolkata.
The host reduced their visitors to 98 for three with a stiff 352-run target set for them on day three of the contest.
Bengal resumed the game at 72 for four, but could only manage just 161 runs. Bengal’s massive 190-run in the first innings meant that Karnataka has a mountain to climb.
Bengal’s inform batsman, Anustup Majumdar, who had an unbeaten 149 in the first innings, which is his fourth rescue-act in the season, hit a combative 41 in Bengal’s second innings amidst another batting collapse.
Bengal is hoping for their first Ranji Trophy final in 13 years had won their previous Ranji title during Sourav Ganguly’s debut season in 1989-90. Being ahead of their opponent, they have no choice but to go for the kill to reach the final. They were on the losing side against Mumbai in their last final appearance in 2007. They lost by 137 runs.
With the top order of Karnataka out, they will have to produce an excellent performance in batting to meet the required 254 runs target in the remaining two days of the match.
Top Indian batsman, KL Rahul, failed to register a run after he was cleaned through a peach of a delivery by the first-innings hero, Ishan Porel.
This is surprising from Rahul just returned from three half-centuries and one century in the limited-overs series in New Zealand, where he was top class in the 5-0 whitewash of the hosts.
Porel jubilated for ousting Karnataka’s star player in the second ball of their innings with the scorecard reading zero.,
On a slow pitch, the ball turned soft. R Samarth and Paddikal also partnered to put up a 57-run partnership after the dismissal of Rahul.
The partnership was broken with Akash Deep having Samarth plumb in front.
Mukesh Kumar later removed Karun Nair (6) with the three pacers sharing one wicket each at the close of day three while 19-year-old Padikkal remained unbeaten with a half-century in partnership with Manish Pandey (11).
Sudip Chatterjee (45) top-scored for Bengal in their second innings, while Majumdar and all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed (31) continued from where they left off with a 61-run partnership. This has increased their overall lead after another top-order collapse.
Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed