Kolkata: Inability of the spin troika to dismiss the Railways' last wicket pair of Anureet Singh and Avinash Yadav cost hosts Bengal three points in a crucial group league encounter of the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament, here on Saturday.
At stumps, Bengal were 187 for five in their second essay after Railways scored 302 to get a vital first innings lead of 34 runs. Bengal currently have a lead of 154 runs with a day left but not enough runs to force an outright victory on a partially responsive Eden Gardens track.
Veteran opener Arindam Das with another slow-paced innings of 38 off 114 balls was responsible for Bengal losing the momentum. The hosts crawled at a run-rate of less than three per over with little or no intent of trying to force an outright win after conceding the first innings lead.
Having consumed 19 of the 67 overs, Arindam spoiled the tempo of the Bengal second innings to such an extent that even Wriddhiman Saha (39 batting) and Shreevats Goswami (28 batting) found it difficult to up the ante during their 51-run stand for the sixth wicket.
Earlier, in the day, Bengal's spinners failed to dismiss the final pair of Anureet (26) and Avinash Yadav (12 no), who came together at the fall of ninth wicket at 265.
Skipper Mahesh Rawat top-scored with 71 which had seven fours and was bowled by left-arm spinner Amit Banerjee.
With four runs needed to take first innings lead, the duo added as many 37 runs but also thwarted the Bengal attack for an hour using up 13 overs in the process.
Bengal off-spinner Saurashis Lahiri with figures of 5/99 was the pick of the bowlers but in reality he never looked threatening in his 32 overs with most of the wickets coming when the batsmen tried to attack him.
Brief Scores: Bengal 268 and 187/5 (Wriddhiman Saha 39 batting, Arnab Nandi 2/25)
Railways 1st innings 302 (Mahesh Rawat 71, Saurashish Lahiri 5/99).