Wriddhiman Saha gives Bengal 1st innings lead against Rajasthan

Jaipur: A useful half-century by Wriddhiman Saha enabled Bengal to get a crucial 82-run first innings lead against hosts Rajasthan in a Ranji Trophy Group B league encounter at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here on Saturday.

In reply to Rajasthan`s first innings score of 244, Bengal managed 326, courtesy 78 from their wicketkeeper-batsman and young Sandipan Das`s 43 which gave them the lead.

At stumps on the penultimate, Rajasthan were 62 for one in their second innings with another 21 runs required to erase the deficit.

A draw would ensure three points for Bengal, who managed only single point after their opening encounter with Baroda was abandoned without a single ball being bowled.

Starting the day at 172 for three, Wriddhiman and Subhomoy Das (21) added exactly 50 runs for the fourth wicket before Das was trapped leg-before by left-arm seamer Aniket Chaudhary (5/93). Within another six runs, skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla (1) was removed by Chaudhary as he was caught by Rajasthan skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar.

At 227 for six with 18 runs to take lead, Wriddhiman and Sandipan coolly took Bengal past magic figure of 244.

Wriddhiman hit 10 fours in his 159-ball knock while Sandipan, a member of the Unmukt Chand led victorious India U-19 squad struck seven boundaries.

Wriddhiman-Sandipan added 55 runs for the sixth wicket before he was bowled by veteran pacer Pankaj Singh (4/87).

Sandipan unfortunately got hit-wicket to become Chaudhary`s fifth victim of the innings. All-rounder Sourashis Lahiri (24) hit a few lusty blows as Bengal crossed 325-run mark.

In the second innings, debutant pacer Manojit Ghosh struck early as he cleaned up opener Saurabh Chouhan (13) but in-form Vineet Saxena (28 batting) and Robin Bist (19 batting) batted confidently for the next 28 overs.

Brief Scores: Rajasthan 244 & 62/1 (Vineet Saxena 28 batting, Manojit Ghosh 1/29)

Bengal 326 (Wriddhiman Saha 78, Rohan Banerjee 77, Sandipan Das 43, Aniket Chaudhary 5/93).