Kolkata: Centuries from Naman Ojha and Mohnish Mishra kept Madhya Pradesh in hunt for a first innings lead against hosts Bengal in their Ranji Trophy Elite group B match on Saturday.
The overnight duo of Ojha (127; 307b, 12x4, 1x6) and Mishra (130 batting, 233b, 17x4, 1x6) slammed centuries as the visitors finished the penultimate day with only 153 runs required to get the first innings lead.
The duo put on 199 runs for the second wicket before Ojha was adjudged leg-before off Bengal seamer Mohammad Shami Ahmed in the post-lunch session.
It was a frustrating day for Bengal bowlers as only two wickets fell with Madhya Pradesh batsmen didn`t have anything to worry on one of the flattest of decks prepared by veteran curator Prabir Mukherjee.
After Shami gave the breakthrough in the 95th over, Dinda from the other end claimed the wicket of Madhya Pradesh skipper Devendra Bundela (1) in the 98th over.
But Bengal failed to make further inroads as left-hander Syed Abbas Ali gave fine support to Mishra to finish the day on 344/3 in 108 overs.
Bad light stopped cut short the day`s proceedings by 16 overs as the play was suspended at 3:08 pm.
There will be a 15-minute early start to the final day`s proceedings.
Resuming at 136 for one, Madhya Pradesh duo of Ojha and Mishra played sensibly as Bengal failed to break the partnership in the first session that yielded 93 runs. Ojha completed his fifth first-class century after lunch before being trapped by Shami, while Mishra batted the whole day showing dogged defiance.
Mishra, who was unbeaten on 20 last night, looked compact as he frustrated Bengal bowlers.
He faced 206 balls on the day and hit 14 fours en route to his fourth first-class century.
There was a brief hiccup in the middle after Ojha`s dismissal but Mishra and Ali saw the day through in an undefeated fourth wicket stand of 48.
Brief scores: Bengal 496. MP 344/3 (Naman Ojha 127, Mohnish Mishra 130 batting, Md Shami Ahmed 2/80).