Ranji Trophy: Bengal in hunt for a lead against Rajasthan

Bengal rode unbeaten half-centuries from skipper Manoj Tiwary and Abhimanyu Easwaran to remain on course for a first-innings lead against Team Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy cricket fixture here on Saturday.

Kolkata: Bengal rode unbeaten half-centuries from skipper Manoj Tiwary and Abhimanyu Easwaran to remain on course for a first-innings lead against Team Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy cricket fixture here on Saturday.

Making full use of his two reprieves on six and 43, Tiwary (51 batting; 107b, 6x4) completed his 21st half-century and along with 20-year-old opener Abhimanyu (53 batting; 160b, 5x4) the duo put on an unbroken 88-run for the fourth wicket as Bengal were 136/3, trailing Team Rajasthan by 62.

After first two days' rain interruption that permitted only 59.4 overs, the penultimate day saw a full match and Bengal bowled out Team Rajasthan for 198 with left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha returning with 4/49.

"The primary target would be to secure three points and depending on the situation we have to take a call on whether to go for an outright win," Ojha said.

Resuming at 140/5, Team Rajasthan rebuilt their innings around Vineet Saxena (66 not out), who ran out of partners after Ojha gave the first breakthrough in Dishan Yagnik (17).

The visitors added 35 runs after Yagnik's dismissal with Ashok Dinda, Veer Pratap Singh and Aamir Gani returning with two wickets each.

Bengal were still on a rebuilding mode with 48/3 after losing Shreevats Goswami (seven) and Sudip Chatterjee (one) in space of four runs but the visitors failed to capitalise as Ankit Lamba dropped Tiwary's sitter at the second slip.

Tiwary became lucky for a second time when his top edge was dropped at long on by Nathu Singh as the visitors were severely let down by their poor fielding.

Brief Scores

Team Rajasthan 198; 95.5 overs (Vineet Saxena 66 not out, Ashok Menaria 40; Pragyan Ojha 4/49, Ashok Dinda 2/44, Veerpratap Singh 2/45, Aamir Gani 2/50).

Bengal 136/3; 54 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 53 batting, Manoj Tiwary 51 batting).

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