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Gritty Sudip-Manoj partnership keeps Bengal in hunt

11th March 2020
Experienced Bengal batters Sudip Chatterjee and Manoj Tiwary showed off a lot of grit and skill to stich a 89-run partnership off 226 balls on a placid Rajkot wicket as the visitors ended the third day on 134/3 against Saurashtra in Ranji Trophy final today.
Abhimanyu Easwaran and men are now 292-run away from clinching the title in a match that is likely to be decided by first innings lead after Bengal bowlers took just 11.5 overs to clean up the rest two wickets and bowl out Saurashtra for 425 runs earlier.
Sudip remained unbeaten on 47 which came off 145 balls while Manoj on his 100th appearance scored 116-ball 35 before being adjudged leg-before-wicket off Chirag Jani.
With batting becoming more tough on the uneven surface Sudip and Wriddhiman Saha showed off a lot of patience as no run came off the bat in the last 59 balls of the final session.
When asked about the poor wicket and controversial umpiring decisions Bengal coach Arun Lal said: "I think it's a poor wicket for a five-day Ranji Trophy final. It's a poor cricketing wicket, nothing can change that. Easwaran was not out for me even Sudip was given out on a played ball."
"The message is keep fighting. Keep longing the game, you have to keep believing. Keep the faith alive. It's chasable target. If we can get a hundred-run partnership then the match is on. The plan is to occupy the crease cause if you try to score runs quickly yku may lose wickets. Keep wickets in hand even if you score 50 runs in a session," he aaded.
Sudip turned around two decisions by umpire through DRS call to carry on the fightback while Wriddhiman gave him company with 4 not out off 43 balls.
Earlier, with eyes set on 426-run mark Bengal got off to a good start thanks to Sudip Gharami who impressed on his debut with a fine 41-ball 26.
The young Bengal batsman made a promising start as smashed two boundaries off leading wicket taker of the tournament Jaidev Unadkat before being caught by Vishvarajsinh Jadeja at forward short leg while trying to defend D Jadeja.
One over later skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran walked back on 9 on a controversial lbw decision off Prerak Mankad as Bengal went into lunch with 35/2 on the scoreboard.
Bengal bowler Akash Deep earlier bagged his fourth and Shahbaz Ahamad git his third wicket of the match to end 38-run tenth wicket partnership.

Rio Dutta