Bengal fritter away advantage on opening day

CricketRailways bowler Anureet Singh celebrtaes after dismissing Bengal batsman S D Chatterjee during 2nd Quarter Final of Ranji Trophy Match at Eden Garden in Kolkata on Wednesday. PTI

Youngsters Sudip Chatterjee and Abhimanyu Easwaran, showed maturity beyond years with a brilliant 163-run partnership before another familiar middle-order collapse saw Bengal end the day at 274 for eight against Railways in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal in Kolkata today.

Left-hander Sudeep (96) played a responsible knock and was ably supported by right-hander Easwaran (65) as they resurrected the innings.

In the middle-order, only reserve Test specialist Wriddhiman Saha (60 batting) managed a good score as he added 41 runs for the undefeated ninth wicket stand with Ashoke Dinda (17 batting).

From a comfortable 166 for two, Bengal were reduced to 233 for eight, losing six wickets for 67 runs. Skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla (17), veteran Sourashish Lahiri (2), young Writtick Chatterjee (0) were out cheaply.

Put into bat in seamer-friendly conditions, in-form pacer Anureet Singh (4/75) rocked the Bengal top-order in his very second over cleaning up Arindam Das (2) and Subhamoy Das (0) with successive balls.

At three for two, 22-year-old Sudip joined 18-year-old Easwaran as they steadied the ship. Easwaran in his 191-ball knock hit 10 fours while the talented Sudip missed out on his maiden first-class ton hitting 96 off 176 balls with 14 fours.

Having done all the hard work, the stylish left-hander Sudip lost his patience momentarily, chasing an away going delivery from Anureet in the second over after tea to miss out on a ton by four runs.

Easwaran started in a rusty manner but the 18-year-old Bengal opener too grew in confidence in Chatterjee's company to notch up his maiden first-class half-century.

Leg-spinner Karn Sharma broke the partnership 10 minutes before tea when Easwaran had a faint edge while going for an expansive shot to a straight delivery. Returning from national duty, Saha held the fort with a defiant 60 not out, studded with a six and seven boundaries to take Bengal near the 300-mark.

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