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Bengal ride on another late fightback

10th March 2020
Another day at Rajkot and another late fightback for Bengal. Mukesh Kumar's two late wickets and Wriddhiman Saha's sharp stumping off Shahbaz Ahamad helped Bengal get 3 wickets in the last session of the second day's play to restrict Saurashtra to 384/8 in Ranji Trophy final in Rajkot today.
In 79.1 overs played today the hosts' batters showed a lot of patience and scored only 178 runs.
Arpit Vasavada and Cheteswar Pujara stitched a well-made 142-run partnership to help Saurashtra Saurashtra enjoy a steady second day on a placid Rajkot wicket.
Vasavada, the saviour of Saurashtra in the semifinal flourished in the final also by hitting a patient 106 off 287 balls.
Earlier fit again Pujara resumed the second day on 5 and batted with Vasavada to help Saurashtra enjoy two wicketless sessions till Wriddhiman Saha stumped the latter one off Shahbaz Ahamad.
After getting the much needed breakthrough after tea Bengal bowlers put more pressure on the hosts to get the best possible result out of a placid Rajkot wicket.
Mukesh who went wicketless in the first day pulled Bengal back in the game with a delivery that Bengal bowling coach Ranadeb Bose called 'one of the best delivery in last 10 years' and got the better off India Test regular Pujara who had already played 236 balls.
After Pujara went back on 66 Bengal pace trio continued their hunt for wickets as other two pacers were unlucky not to get any Mukesh got his second by trapping Prerak Mankad lbw to reduce Saurashtra to 364/8.
After that Chirag Jani added more 20 runs with D Jadeja off the ninth wicket to help the hosts end second day on 384/8 in 160 overs.
With Saurashtra taking two whole days to bat the final match seems to an one innings game and the Bengal batters will have a mountain to climb while chasing a total around 400 to clinch the title.

Rio Dutta