Abhimanyu Easwaran made amends for his paltry seven in the first innings to bring up his 10th first-class century, while captain Manoj Tiwary’s unbeaten 90 pushed Bengal to 218/2, adrift by 42 in their second innings of the Ranji Trophy 2018-19 Round 9 Elite B match against Punjab on Wednesday.

After Madhya Pradesh’s dramatic collapse which saw them bundle out for just 35, both Bengal and Punjab are in the fray for qualification berths as this time five best teams from Groups A and B will make it to the knockouts. (ALSO READ: From 35/3 to 35 all out, Madhya Pradesh suffer incredible collapse)

After wrapping up Punjab for 447 in their first dig, Bengal, behind by 260 runs, lost opener Abhishek Kumar Raman to Manpreet Singh Grewal in the fifth over for 7. No.3 batsman Sudip Chatterjee added just 18 before he was castled by Siddharth Kaul.

Easwaran and Tiwary then stitched a massive 180-run partnership for the third wicket as the duo dominated the Punjab bowling attack. Easwaran, who registered a brilliant 183 in Bengal’s previous match against Delhi, was unbeaten on 100 off 157 balls. His innings was decorated with 11 boundaries. At the other end, Tiwary, who scored just 4 in the first dig, was 10 runs short of his 26th first-class century. His 90 off 146 balls included nine fours and one six. (ALSO READ: Jonty Sidhu’s fighting century keep Delhi in the hunt versus Tamil Nadu)

Earlier, resuming their first innings at 357/7, Punjab managed to add 90 runs. Overnight centurion Anmolpreet Singh added just two on the penultimate day before he was dismissed by Ashok Dinda for 126, which included 13 boundaries and one six.

Punjab were able to cross the 400-run mark courtesy Manpreet Singh Grewal’s unbeaten 69 that came in quick time. Grewal carted six boundaries and five sixes during his 67-ball stay at the crease.

For Bengal, Mukesh Kumar, who snapped four on day two, added one on Wednesday, to emerge as the pick of the bowlers with five for 114 in his 31 overs. Pradipta Pramanik pocketed four for 108 in his 43.3 overs.

Brief scores: Bengal 187 & 218/2 (Abhimanyu Easwaran 100*, Manoj Tiwary 90*) trail Punjab 447 (Anmolpreet Singh 126, Manpreet Singh Grewal 69*; Mukesh Kumar 5/114, Pradipta Pramanik 4/108) by 42 runs