Vidarbha continued to call the shots against Bengal in a key Group D clash in the fifth round of the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 on Friday (November 10), while in the other matches in the group on the second day, Chhattisgarh got into a dominant position against Himachal Pradesh, and the Services bowlers brought their team back against Goa.
Bengal’s bowlers put up a much better show on the second day than they had on the first, bowling Vidarbha out for 499 from their overnight 285 for 1, but the home team ended the day at the Bengal Cricket Academy Ground in disarray, having lost three wickets to be 89 for 3, still trailing by a sizeable 410 runs.
Bengal began brightly, with Kanishk Seth trapping Wasim Jaffer lbw in the day’s first over – a marked difference from how they had spent Thursday, chasing leather for the best part while the openers were putting on 259.
With that early wicket, though, Bengal’s bowlers had some renewed zest and continued to strike regularly. Ishan Porel, the 19-year-old right-arm pacer on first-class debut, ran through the middle-order, picking up four wickets to be Bengal’s best bowler. He shouldered the heaviest burden, bowling 47 overs to end with 4 for 139. Ashok Dinda, the veteran pacer, had 3 for 116 in 35 overs, while Aamir Gani picked up two wickets with his offspin.
Apart from the openers’ centuries, Vidarbha’s only notable contribution came from Aditya Sarwate, the left-arm spinning allrounder, who made an aggressive 89 from No. 7, smacking two sixes and 10 fours in his 93-ball stay.
Vidarbha were bowled out at the stroke of tea, but any momentum Bengal might have thought they had after taking nine wickets in two sessions evaporated quickly, with Lalit Yadav, the right-arm pacer, and Akshay Wakhare, the offspinner, reducing them to 43 for 3 in the 12th over.
Abhimanyu Easwaran had fallen for a duck in the first over, while Sudip Chatterjee too fell cheaply. Abhishek Raman made 27 before being caught and bowled by Wakhare. At stumps, Manoj Tiwary was holding fort on an unbeaten 36, while Koushik Ghosh was giving his captain company on one.
Chhattisgarh’s batsmen grinded down HP’s bowling attack to build a lead of 214 runs by stumps at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, ending on 389 for 6 in 120 overs. Having bowled HP out for just 175 in 44.2 overs on Thursday, Chhattisgarh had the luxury of building their innings without any pressure and with plenty of time left in the match.
Chhattisgarh’s total was built on Rishabh Tiwari’s patient 131. The opener, unbeaten on 46 as Chhattisgarh resumed on 91 for 1, stayed put for 280 balls. It was not just his maiden first-class century but also the first time he had gone past 50 in his short six-match career, having made his debut last season.
Tiwari lost Ashutosh Singh, his overnight partner, shortly after the latter had completed his half-century, but several useful contributions kept the visiting team going. Amandeep Khare, who has been in good form, made 78 and shared a stand of 124 for the fourth wicket with Tiwari, before both men fell soon after each other. Jatin Saxena too fell for a quickfire 25 off 15 balls, but that was the last bit of success HP had on the day.
Manoj Singh, the wicketkeeper, and Sumit Ruikar, the left-arm spinner, took the team through to stumps without any more damage. Manoj was batting on 21, while Ruikar had got to 35, with the duo sharing an unbroken stand of 64 so far.
The Services bowlers fought back after being bowled out for just 263 in the first session on the second day, reducing Goa to 150 for 6 in 69.3 overs by stumps at the Palam A ground, still 113 runs in arrears and with most of the top order gone.
Overnight on 228 for 8, Services stretched their total in the morning courtesy Vikas Yadav making his highest first-class score, with a fine 84 from No. 8. Vikas was the ninth wicket to fall, bringing an end to a 180-ball knock, and Goa wrapped things up shortly after.
Amogh Desai (3 for 18) and Heramb Parab (3 for 37) were Goa’s best bowlers.
Services showed, however, that they could go one better than the visiting side’s attack, striking regularly as Goa were left floundering. Their best phase came when Sagun Kamat, the captain, and Desai were putting on 58 runs for the third wicket, but Kamat’s run out for an even 50 meant Services had the upper hand once again.
Sachidanand Pandey, the 21-year-old right-arm pacer, was the wrecker-in-chief, having taken 3 for 23 so far in 18 overs. Vikas completed another good day with the wicket of Amulya Pandrekar, which signalled stumps with Goa looking shaky.
Desai had held firm on an unbeaten 37, but will have only the lower order for company when Goa resume tomorrow.