Bengal put on a show
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The stage was nicely set for the Bengal bowlers and they responded. In fading light Ashok Dinda bowled with raw aggression, not frequently seen in a pace bowler on the domestic circuit, while Sourav Sarkar and Manoj Tiwary also chipped to leave Gujarat on the ropes at Eden Gardens on Monday.
The visitors had already conceded a 266-run first innings lead and their only hope of getting something out of this match rested on denying the hosts early wickets in the second innings. With Dinda spitting fire, that hope quickly evaporated and by stumps on Day 3, Gujarat were staring down the barrel at 18/4.
They need an effort of epic proportions to deny Bengal an outright win and a bonus point on the final day. On the evidence of their performance thus far in the match, however, it is asking for a bit too much.
Gujarat were deflated by a patient 191 by Manoj Tiwary and free-flowing, almost-run-a-ball 113 by Laxmi Ratan Shukla. And it reflected in the way their top-order responded. Priyank Panchal (0) self-destructed, having sent back hopelessly by his opening partner Smit Patel midway into a single in the second over. Niraj Patel (0) edged Dinda to second slip, paying the price for playing away from his body. Smit missed a straight ball from Sarkar and was bowled. Bengal needed their captain Parthiv Patel to show the way, but he simply followed the top three into the dressing room.
Part-time spinner Tiwary was bowling as the light became too poor for the pacers to operate. Parthiv, batting on 12, misread a zooter from Tiwary, edged and wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha took a low catch in his second attempt. It rounded off an almost perfect day for Tiwary.
In this match Tiwary hasn't put a foot wrong. Resuming on overnight 102, the Bengal captain was at ease and toyed with the Gujarat bowling. The double hundred was there for the taking but he fell nine runs short when a Faizal Dhudhat delivery stopped on him and forced him to play early. Rujul Bhatt took an easy catch at the cover region and Tiwary departed to a standing ovation.
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