Ranji Trophy 2013-14: Bengal fail to impress against Madhya Pradesh on home turf

Wriddhiman Saha top-scored in the second innings with 69. Though Bengal put up a strong performance in the second essay, they had considered a hefty lead in the first innings to hand Madhya Pradesh the advantage © Getty Images (File Photo)

Kolkata: Nov 17, 2013

Steered by Wriddhiman Saha’s stroke-filled half-century, Bengal on Sunday put up an improved batting show to salvage a draw and settle for one point against Madhya Pradesh who logged three in their Ranji Trophy group B league.

Resuming their second innings at 43 for no loss with a deficit of 125 runs, Bengal lost two quick wickets to be on 86 for two midway into the first session after offspinner Jalaj Saxena (4/117) dismissed both the openers — Rohan Banerjee (43) and first innings centurion Arindam Das (39).

But Saha (69) once again proved his worth to be the mainstay of their batting as the wicketkeeper batsman stitched two important partnerships — 78 runs with Anustup Majumdar (38) and 73 with Subhomoy Das (59).

The first partnership that came before the lunch helped Bengal avoid the deficit while in Subhomoy, Saha found a perfect ally as the duo shattered MP’s hope for six points with an outright victory.

Saha’s knock from 95 balls with nine fours and one six was more of elegance while Subhomoy showed fine temperament as the duo took the total past 200.

Eyeing a second consecutive Ranji victory against Bengal, MP had disappointment in store as their strike bowler Ishwar Pandey returned wicketless, failing to utilise the early morning condition which was ideal for swing bowling.

But it was a memorable outing for Saxena who had a career-best match haul of 10 wickets (10/170). The offspinner had best figures ofsix for 53 in the first innings.

Bengal now have five points from three matches to lie low at sixth place, while MP have seven at the fourth position in group B standings.

Madhya Pradesh boast of a fine record against Bengal, having defeated them comprehensively in Indore last season for six points, while in 2011-12 they walked away with three points chasing down 496 in the first innings at JU Saltlake campus.

Brief scores:

Madhya Pradesh 431 (Naman Ojha 115, Udit Birla 68; Anustup Majumdar 3 for 42) drew with Bengal 263 & 308 for 5 f/o (Wriddhiman Saha 69; Jalaj Saxena 4 for 117).