Ranji Trophy: Akshay Wakhare takes four to trigger Bengal mid innings collapse
Bengal's loss of sudden wickets give Vidharbha an edge.
Kolkata: Hosts Bengal squandered a splendid 118-run opening partnership to close day one at 217/7 as Vidarbha rode on offspinner Akshay Wakhare 4/40 to bounce back in their Ranji Trophy cricket match here.
Abhimanyu Easwaran (58; 135b; 10x4) and Sayan Sekhar Mondal's careerbest 56 (146b; 8x4) gave Bengal a spectacular start after they were put in to bat on a greentop at the Jadavpur University (second campus) ground in Saltlake.
But the hosts went on to lose four wickets for 22 runs with left-arm seamer Shrikant Wagh (2/34) and Wakhare springing into action as skipper Manoj Tiwary (3) and Shreevats Goswami (1) went cheaply.
With wickets falling at the other end, it was left-hand batsman Sudip Chatterjee who hung around at No 3 to arrest the slide and remained unbeaten on 49 with Pragyan Ojha (one) at the other end at stumps.
Making a comeback into the side after recovering from an injury, the 20-year-old Easwaran survived an early scare when on nine he was bowled by Swapnil Bandiwar in the sixth over of the day but to his luck the Vidarbha bowler had over-stepped.
Easwaran went on to notch his sixth first class half-century in the post-lunch session, while two overs later Mondal struck his maiden 50 to give Bengal a perfect start.
Soon all hell broke loose for Bengal after Easwaran edged one behind the stumps with Wagh giving the breakthrough in the 44th over.
Fresh from his seven-wicket match haul in their win over Maharashtra, Wakhare joined in the party castling Mondal in space of nine balls.
Wagh then took the big scalp of the Bengal skipper who perished after poking at an away going delivery to be dismissed caught behind.
Wakhare continued his marathon 18-over spell and took four wickets.
Asked about the greentop on offer, Wakhare said: "The pitch looks deceptive... If you bowl in the right areas, the ball is drifting. Scoring is difficult as it has some uneven bounce. We'll try to wrap Bengal under 250."
For Bengal, it all will depend on how Chatterjee and Ojha bat in the early morning conditions tomorrow.
Bengal 217/7; 82 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 58, Sayan Sekhar Mondal 56, Sudip Chatterjee 49 batting; Akshay Wakhare 4/40, Shrikant Wagh 2/34) vs Vidarbha.