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Dhruva Prasad

BENGALURU

Jharkhand’s day was bookended by two spells of synchronised clapping, aimed at boosting the morale of the fielders, but in between Bengal continued to pile misery on its opponent to end day two of the first quarterfinal of the Ranji Trophy on 577 for five at the Just Cricket Academy ground here on Tuesday.

After Shahbaz Ahmed ramped Sushant Mishra (two for 122) for a six over third man following the dismissal of Abishek Porel (68, 111b, 11×4), who was strangled down the leg, the Jharkhand dugout geed up the fielders with a round of applause in the 175th over the innings. Earlier, a similar spectacle had transpired an hour into the day’s play.

Between these bouts of cheers, Bengal ran the bowlers ragged. Porel and Manoj Tiwary (54 batting, 146b, 3×4, 1×6), pairing for a 109-run stand for the fifth wicket, looked poised for a rousing end to the day. Porel cut and drove the pacers and spinners in equal measure. Overcoming his jitters with the short ball, Tiwary struck his first boundary after facing 95 balls before reaching his fifty with a cover-drive for four.

Big stand

Earlier, Sudip Kumar Gharami (186, 380b, 21×4, 1×6) and Anustup Majumdar (117, 194b, 15×4) built on the overnight score of 310 for one with their stonewalling yielding 99 runs in 35 overs in the first session. Majumdar reached the three-figure mark with a couple of fours after Ashish Kumar troubled him initially by moving the ball both ways. Rahul Shukla, however, was inaccurate from the start, straying on the pads to allow two fours in the second over of the day.

After a back-breaking spell, Shahbaz Nadeem finally drew Majumdar’s outside edge by beating him in the air and ending a 243-run stand. Abhishek Raman (61, 109b 8×4, 1×6), who retired hurt on 41 on day one, showed intent from the get-go by stepping out and depositing off-spinner Utkarsh Singh over long-on for six before he was left stranded outside his crease by a flighted Anukul Roy delivery.

Shifting gears

The day belonged to young Gharami who shifted gears after an assuring first session. A bottom-handed whip through mid-wicket and a wild slash to the third man boundary betrayed a sense of hurry to rush to the 200-run mark. He fell 14 runs short of it when he flicked a loose one down leg-side to the wicket-keeper and walked back with disbelief writ large on his face and a rousing ovation from his teammates.

The scores:

Bengal — 1st innings: Abhishek Raman st. Kushagra b Anukul 61, Abhimanyu Easwaran lbw b Sushant 65, Sudip Kumar Gharami c Kushagra b Shukla 186, Anustup Majumdar c sub (Bal Krishna) b Nadeem 117, Manoj Tiwary (batting) 54, Abishek Porel c Kushagra b Sushant 68, Shahbaz Ahmed (batting) 7; Extras (b-1, lb-9, nb-6, w-3): 19; Total (for five wkts. in 178 overs): 577.

Fall of wickets: 1-132, 2-375, 3-421, 4-455, 5-564.

Jharkhand bowling: Shukla 26-3-95-1, Ashish 36-8-105-0, Sushant 27-1-122-2, Nadeem 44-6-118-1, Anukul 33-4-91-1, Utkarsh 12-1-36-0.



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