Xtra Time Web Desk: Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat (44/3) and Chetan Sakariya (33/3) utilised the conditions perfectly as Bengal were bowled out for only 174 runs in the first innings of Ranji Trophy final which started at Eden Gardens on Thursday. At stumps on Day 1 Saurashtra are 81/2, training by 93 runs. Saurashtra opener Harvik Desai is not out on 38 along with night watchman Chetan Sakariya.
On a day when most of the Bengal batters found the going tough on a green-top pitch, Shahbaz Ahmed was a standout performer with a fighting 69 off just 112 balls. Wicket-keeper Abishek Porel also played a handy 50-run knock for the home side.
Put into bat, the home side dealt an early blow when Saurashtra skipper Unadkat sent Abhimanyu Easwaran (0) packing in the fifth ball of the day. Despite the early breakthrough, the visitors didn’t hold back.
In the very next over, Sakariya displayed an outstanding seam bowling dismissing debutant Sumanta Gupta (1) followed by in-form Sudip Kumar Gharami (0) in span of three balls to put the home side in trouble at 2 for 3.
Incoming senior pros Anustup Majumdar (16) and Manoj Tiwary (7) looked to steady the ship but Unadkat struck once again, getting rid of his counterpart to reduce Bengal to 17 for 4.
Anustup, who bailed the team out of trouble in multiple ocassions this season, missed out this time edging a wide delivery off the bowling of Jani to have half the team back in the hut with just 34 on the board.
Akash Ghatak also threw his wicket away after playing a 48-ball 17 to put team in a spot of bother at 65 for 6. Thereafter, Shahbaz and Abishek kept their cool, playing sensibly to add a much-needed 101-run partnership for the seventh wicket to help team go past the 150-run mark. Both the batters brought up their half-centuries but thereafter fell cheaply.
Akash Deep (4) and Mukesh Kumar (1) too departed as Bengal’s innings folded in the 55th over of the day.