Bengal put one foot in Ranji Trophy semis | Cricket News

KOLKATA: Bengal put one foot firmly in the semifinals by securing a huge 475-run first-innings lead against Jharkhand in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final clash at the Just Cricket Academy ground in Bengaluru on Thursday.
Without enforcing a follow-on, the Bengal batters decided to have some more practice as they finished Day IV on 76 for three, thereby enjoying a 551-run lead going into the fifth and final day of the contest.
That Bengal will earn a first-innings lead was a foregone conclusion and the Jharkhand resistance was over by the tea interval on the penultimate day when their innings folded up for 298 runs.
Virat Singh played a lone hand remaining unbeaten on a 239-ball 113 that included 15 fours and three sixes. However, he ran out of partners as Jharkhand kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Only experienced Shahbaz Nadeem provided him some support with the duo being involved in a 45-run seventh-wicket stand.
Sayan Sekhar Mondal once again provided the breakthrough in the morning having overnight unbeaten batter Anukul Roy caught by Sudip Gharami for four only.
Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed then struck twice to dismiss Nadeem and Rahul Shukla in quick succession to reduce Jharkhand to 228 for eight. Virat delayed the inevitable by stitching together a 57-run last wicket stand with Ashish Kumar before Akash Deep clean bowled the latter to wrap up the innings.
The Bengal second innings, however, did not go smoothly as they lost three wickets in the last season of play. Left-arm spinner Nadeem picked all the three wickets of openers Abhimanyu Easwaran (13), Abhishek Raman (22) and first-innings centurion Gharami (5).
Two seasoned campaigners for Bengal Anushtup Majumder (22*) and Manoj Tiwary (12*) saw through to the stumps and will look to ensure that Jharkhand do not get an opportunity to bat again on the last day.

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