Ranji Trophy 2012 - Bengal vs Rajasthan, Day 2: Rajasthan make 63/4 in reply to Bengal`s 258

Kolkata: Two-time defending champions Rajasthan found themselves reeling at 63 for four in reply to Bengal`s 258 on a curtailed second day of their Ranji Trophy match here on Saturday.

If the first session belonged to Rajasthan who bowled Bengal out with a brilliant combined effort of Pankaj Singh (5/55) and Rituraj Singh (3/116), Bengal dominated the show in the second session, courtesy two wickets apiece by Sourav Sarkar and Laxmi Ratan Shukla.

But poor light and some drizzle brought an end to the second day`s proceedings 10 minutes before the scheduled tea, which meant only 46.3 overs were possible.

At close of play, Ashok Menaria (13) and Rashmi Ranjan Parida (3) were at the crease as the hosts remained frustrated.

But the start was good for the Hrishikesh Kanitkar-led side with pacers Pankaj and Rituraj taking full use of the early morning moisture on the Eden strip.

The burly pacer, Pankaj struck with his very fifth ball when Anustup Majumdar edged an outswinger behind the stumps to return without any addition to Bengal`s overninght total of 187.

But what followed was complete lack of application by the Bengal batsmen as Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Sourav Sarkar were castled in Rituraj`s third over of the morning.

Shukla completely misjudged the line of the inswinger that kissed the bails as the Bengal batsman left the ball, while Sarkar was bowled by another Rituraj beauty.

Three wickets fell for 30 balls, something that meant Bengal`s first innings was all but over with wicketkeeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha waging a lone battle.

With wickets falling quickly at the other end, Saha (59 from 79 balls; 10x4) became the third victim Rituraj who gave fine support at the other end.

Rituraj`s brilliant effort of the day read 8-1-38-3 which he bowled in two spells, while Pankaj 8-2-20-2 meant that he picked up his 15th five-for from 62 first-class matches.

In reply, Rajasthan sorely missed the services of former India opener Aakash Chopra who switched allegiance to Himachal Pradesh this season.

Without Chopra, their batting looked ordinary with three-match-old Ankit Lamba along side Vineet Saxena who had the `experienced tag` with 84 caps.

But Saxena departed early after being trapped by Sourav Sarkar as skipper Kanitkar followed suit in a similar fashion by the same bowler.

Rajasthan`s bid to build a partnership was foiled by allrounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla who also claimed two wickets in his brilliant spell of 6-3-7-2, which became the high point of Bengal before weather cast its shadow.

"From the way the day turned out, we have an upperhand in the match. We have to keep bowling the same way to take a first innings lead tomorrow," Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary said.

Brief Scores

Bengal 258; 74.3 overs (Subhomoy Das 95, Wriddhiman Saha 59; Pankaj Singh 5/55, Rituraj Singh 3/116). Rajasthan 63/4; 31 overs (Laxmi Ratan Shukla 2/7, Sourav Sarkar 2/26).