Dehradun, Jan 4 (PTI) Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary’s decision to hand over the new ball to left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed turned out to be a masterstroke as Uttarakhand were staring down the barrel at 104 for 6 on second day of the Ranji Trophy Group A match here on Wednesday.
Shahbaz (2/34 in 12 overs) removed the two rival openers Avneesh Sudha (4) and skipper Jiwanjot Singh (4) within first six overs to seize the control.
With the Abhimanyu Cricket Academy Stadium track offering some assistance, other left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik (2/17 in 10 overs) also got into the act. The spin twins got enough support from pacer Akash Deep (2/21 in 10 overs), who also provided timely breakthroughs.
In fact, Shahbaz enjoyed a satisfying day as an all-rounder, contributing a valuable 40 with the willow which took Bengal’s first innings score to a healthy 387.
This was after first day’s hero Abhimanyu Easwaran added a few more runs before being dismissed for 165.
It was Uttarakhand left-arm spinner Mayank Mishra (6/95 in 34 overs), whose spell actually gave Tiwary the belief that his spinners were in a better position to exploit the turn on offer with odd balls gripping the surface.
Uttarakhand need 238 to avoid follow-on and at this point would need another 134 runs to overtake the total with only four wickets remaining.
Bengal would like to go for the kill in next two days and take pole position in the group.
If Uttarakhand manage a point, they will go to 20 points and remain on top of the table while Bengal will be a point shy at 19.
Brief Scores At Dehradun: Bengal 1st Innings 387 (Abhimanyu Easwaran 165, Sudip Gharami 90, Shahbaz Ahmed 40; Mayank Mishra 6/95) vs Uttarakhand 1st Innings 104/6 (Kunal Chandela batting 40; Shahbaz Ahmed 2/34).
At Lucknow: Haryana 1st Innings 140/5 (Ankit Kumar 80; Aaqib Khan 4/50) vs Uttar Pradesh.
At Vadodara: Baroda 1st Innings 378 (Vishnu Solanki 178; Kanwar Abhinay 3/63).
vs Himachal Pradesh 223/1 (Prashant Chopra 111, Raghav Dhawan 56).
At Cuttack: Nagaland 1st Innings 433 (Chetan Bist 129, Sedezhalie Rupero 71; Tarani Sa 3/86). Odisha 111/0 (Anurag Sarangi 75 batting).
Source: PTI News