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Mandal’s century add shine to Bengal top order
20th October 2016
Sayan Sekhar Mandal’s accomplished century propelled Bengal to a steady 332 for 5 after being put to bat by Punjab on a green-top on the opening day of a Group-A Ranji trophy match at the Lunau Cricket Stadium in Bilaspur today.
At stumps P Shaw not out 11 and P Ojha not out 2 were at the crease. But Punjab will also be happy having got the top order back to the pavilion.
Punjab made an immediate impression after putting Bengal to bat removing in-form Abhimanyu Easwaran for 8 trapped lbw by Sandeep Sharma. But Bengal countered well with opener Sayan Sekhar Mandal and Sudip Chatterjee adding 102 runs for the second wicket before Sudip disappointed again not carrying on after another fine half century.
Though the top order continued to milk runs, the star of the day was Mandal. His crafty 135 had 22 boundaries scored at a trotting pace that never allowed the run rate to dip much. As the day progressed and the wicket eased out a little, Mandal flourished scoring on both sides of the wicket.
“The morning was tough. The wicket had both pace and bounce. Initially it was difficult to adjust but gradually it eased out. After the early wicket of Abhimanyu(Easwaran) I had to carry on and that is exactly what I did. I think we are in a good position at the end of the day,” said Sayan Sekhar Mandal to CAB media.
“Unlike the last match, the pitch here is lively and the seamers could make the ball talk. So it was important to handle them with care in the beginning,” he added.
He formed his second successful partnership with Agniv Pan for the third wicket that yielded 140 runs at almost 4 runs per over. Sayan edged one from Manpreet Singh Grewal to be caught behind against the run of the play.
Agniv Pan went on to score 70 runs before being scalped by Vinay Chowdhury. Skipper Manoj Tiwari, who looked well set at 45, was the last batsman to get out today under failing lights to pacer Sandeep Sharma.
“I am happy with the overall performance. We would like to add at least 100 more to our score tomorrow. We have the batsmen to do it. However, I would have been happier had we not lost the last two wickets towards the fag end of the day,” coach Sairaj Bahutule said.
For Punjab, Sandeep Sharma and Vinay Choudhary took 2 wickets each, while Manpreet chipped in with one for 51.

Arindam Basu (with inputs from Sayan Banerjee)