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Akash inspires Bengal's late fightback

9th March 2020
Young Bengal pacer Akash Deep scalped 3 wickets on a placid Rajkot pitch to help the visitors restrict Saurashtra to 206/5 at the end of the first day's play in Ranji Trophy final at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium today.
Earlier Saurashtra skipper Jaidev Unadkat elected to bat after winning the toss and their openers gave them a decent start as the game went into the lunch with 77 runs for no loss on the scoreboard.
On a wicket that was not offering much help to the pacers Bengal used their spin attack early as young left-arm spinner Shahbaz bowled two of the first 10 overs.
After a wicket-less first session the young Bengal all-rounder broke Saurashtra's opening stand of 82 runs as Harvik Desai (38) was caught at silly point by Abhishek Raman who held on to a sharp chance and gave the visitors much needed breakthrough.
A Barot (54) became the first victim of Akash after the Saurashtra opener nicked straight into the safe hands of experienced campaigner Wriddhiman Saha.
Akash rattled the stumps of another Saurshtra half-centurion Vishvarajsinh Jadeja (54) with a full length delivery before Ishan Porel trapped Sheldon Jackson (14) leg-before-wicket to reduce opponents to 182/4.
India test regular Cheteswar Pujara came to bat at number six lower than his usual batting position and faced only 24 deliveries before falling to continue and leave the field looking uneasy and under the weather.
Akash bagged his third after Chetan Shakariya was caught behind on 4 by Saha and the Bengal pacer ended the day with 3 for 41.

Rio Dutta