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Top order put Bengal in driver's seat
13th October 2016
It was a solid start with young opener Abhimanyu Easwaran remaining not out on 123 and debutant Agniv Pan (51) adding muscle to the score, as Bengal dominated Uttar Pradesh finishing Day-I of the Ranji Trophy opener at 288 for 3 at the Sawai Manshingh Stadium in Jaipur. Sudip Chatterjee also chipped in with an accomplished 73.
Bengal won the toss and elected to bat on a wicket that had some grass. At the end of the day's play Captain Manoj Tiwari told CAB, "We saw the wicket. There was some grass. But the wicket was dry. So when we won the toss we elected to bat." Bengal finished the day at 288 for three with Abhimanyu Easwaran batting on 123 and Manoj giving him company on 1.
The day belonged to debutant Agniv Pan who scored a strokeful 51 off just 81 ball with six boundaries. He cut and pulled at ease and never looked under pressure. He was bowled in the last over of the day to a ball that cut and found the gap between bat and pad. "I missed the line completely. It was a good delivery," Pan later told CAB.
"I was never under pressure. The coach and captain encouraged me to play my natural game. It is a great feeling to score a half cetury on debut. But I am a little sad at not carrying on," Pan added.
Meanwhile, unbeaten batsman Abhimanyu Easwaran is fast becoming one of the cornerstones of Bengal batting. With a healthy average of 40 and a century and nine 50s to his name already, his chanceless innings studded with 18 boundaries essayed over 241 balls only added to his growing stature. "I plan to have a big partnership with the skipper tomorrow. Today's battle is over.
Tomorrow it is a new day and a new battle. Getting a century is always satisfying. The bowlers never created any pressure," Abhimanyu said.
The UP bolwers never troubled the Bengal top order except Ankit Rajpoot who returned with figures of three for 72 from 19 overs. Bengal was given a solid start by Abhimanyu and Sayan Sekhar Mandal, who was looking good on 30 till he he nicked one to rival skipper Ekalavya Dwivedi off Rajpoot to depart. With Bengal on 64 for 1, Abhimanyu was joined by Sudip Chatterjee and the duo put up 132 run second wicket partnership that saw Bengal reach 196. Chatterjee who looked good on 73 (140 balls) studded with 11 boundaries, before Ankit had his number.
Bengal will try and pile on the miseries of Uttar Pradesh and bury them under a big run chase. "We would like to carry on with the way we batted today. But then cricket is unpredictable. If we can bat the way we did today then at some point we will look at declaring and putting them under pressure," Manoj said.