Xtra Time Web Desk: Anustup Majumdar (61) and skipper Manoj Tiwary (57 not out) rose to the occasion, smashing half-centuries each to help Bengal stage a strong comeback in their second innings against Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy final at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.
At stumps on Day 3, Bengal were 169/4, thus trailing by just 61 runs in their second innings.
Earlier, Saurashtra managed to post a challenging 404 in their first innings. Mukesh Kumar (4-111), Akash Deep (3-111) and Ishan Porel (3-86) were the pick of the bowlers for Bengal.
Resuming the day from overnight score of 317/5, Arpit Vasavada (81) and Chirag Jani (60) added just one run in the morning before Mukesh got rid of Vasavada to bring an end to a fine 114-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
Incoming batsman Prerak Mankad scored crucial 33 runs in just 50 balls to help team extend their lead further.
To bring a sigh of relief in the Bengal camp, Mukesh struck for the second time in the morning dismissing Chirag to reduce the visitors to 343/7.
As Saurashtra’s score went past the 350-run mark with their lead well over 150, Akash Deep brought the home side back into the contest by dismissing Prerak followed by skipper Jaydev Unadkat (4).
Thereafter, piling more pressure on the home side, tail-enders Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (29) and Parth Bhut (14) managed to score some quick runs before their innings folded in the 110th over.
In reply, trailing by 230 runs in their second innings, Bengal dealt an early blow after debutant Sumanta Gupta (1) was sent packing in the second over of their innings by Chetan Sakariya.
Abhimanyu Easwaran (16) and Sudip Kumar Gharami (14) got off to fine starts but fell to put Bengal in trouble at 47/3.
But senior pros, Anustup and Manoj combined well to add 99 runs for the fourth wicket before the former fell in the post-tea session.
At the end, Manoj and Shahbaz Ahmed (13 not out) kept their cool to remain unbeaten.
Unadkat and Sakariya bagged two wickets each for the visitors.