Abhimanyu Easwaran made 129 off 246, featuring 17 fours. © Wisden India

Abhimanyu Easwaran made 129 off 246, featuring 17 fours. © Wisden India

Ishwar Chaudhary and Chintan Gaja, Gujarat’s seamers, shared five wickets among themselves to keep Bengal in check at 261 for 6 on the first day of their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal in Jaipur.

Gujarat, the defending champions, opted to field at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Thursday (December 7) and the bowlers vindicated the decision, with only two batsmen in the Bengal line-up managing to reach double-figures.

Once they got a start, Abhimanyu Easwaran and Anustup Majumdar kicked on to make a sizeable contribution. Easwaran made 129 off 246, featuring 17 fours, while Majumdar narrowly missed out a century, falling for 94 off 177, having hit 11 fours. To put their knock in perspective, they have scored roughly 85% of Bengal’s runs so far.

Majumdar joined Easwaran with Bengal floundering at 59 for 4 in the 18th over. Till then, Easwaran, the opener, watched helplessly as batsman after batsman perished at the other end. Chaudhary removed Abhishek Raman, Writtick Chatterjee and Shreevats Goswami while Gaja trapped Manoj Tiwary, the captain, lbw for 1.

Majumdar helped Bengal avoid sinking further, adding 175 runs for the fifth wicket with Easwaran. The opener brought up his sixth first-class century overall and second of the season, off 175 deliveries, before tea. After the break, though, Gujarat wrested back control of the game as Bengal slipped from 234 for 4 to 255 for 6.

Siddharth Desai, the left-arm spinner, had Majumdar stumped and the old adage of one wicket begetting another proved to be true for Gujarat as Gaja snapped up Easwaran at the fag end of the day.

B Amit and Aamir Gani remained unbeaten at close of play, but Gujarat will fancy their chances of knocking over the tail early on Friday morning. Bengal, meanwhile, will heavily depend on Ashok Dinda, especially with national duty keeping Mohammed Shami out of the game.