Ranji Trophy 2017-18: Easwaran, Anustup fought hard as Bengal reach 261/6 on day 1

[caption id="attachment_59363" align="aligncenter" width="580"]d0b15880-95f2-4958-b37d-8c8ee73d9dac Sourav Ganguly at Jaipur to watch the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals between Bengal and Gujarat. Image Source: twitter[/caption]

Internet Desk: Manoj Tiwary led Bengal cricket team ended their day one of the first quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy against defending champions Gujarat on a demoralizing note as they reach 261 for 6, at the Sawai Mannsingh Stadium in Jaipur today.

On day 1, Gujarat had won the toss and elected to first. Though, former India skipper and CAB President Sourav Ganguly was present at the ground to cheer the side in the big quarterfinals but there was no improvement was shown by the Bengal batsmen. Sourav posted a photo of himself in the ground.

Opener Abhishek Raman (5) failed to make any mark in the game as at one stage Bengal’s score was 13 for 1 at the sixth over. The absence of Sudip Chatterjee was felt in the middle as in experienced Writtick Chatterjee could only managed to score 4 runs before giving his wicket. It was a blunder made by team management as they picked Writtick in the playing XI in place of Saurabh Singh who was set to make his debut in this match. Chatterjee played a knock of unbeaten 102 runs in the second innings against a minnow like Goa in their last group league game at the Eden Gardens, but one should understand there is a hell and heaven difference between the wickets of Eden Gardens and Sawai Mannsingh Stadium. Skipper Manoj Tiwary (1) and wicket-keeper batsman Shreevats Goswami (4) too went out cheaply within just 16 runs span. Shreevats too is going through a pretty bad bad season as he has only one century under his belt which came against Goa.

It was all about getting back to business and hitting the ball around the ground to help the team claw back to the tempo. While Abhimanyu Eswaran was the man under pressure he displayed some real crisis management with the bat scoring a ton. His sedulous efforts bred 129 runs for the Bengal team.

Later as Sreevats Goswami got dismissed for 4, Anustup joined the crisis manager showing some real purpose and determination scoring 94 runs. The game in the initial stage yielded a run a ball innings but with young Easwaran and Anustup on the turf the Bengal tempo was reinforced with a 175 runs partnership and a well fought out century by the opener.

Anustup timed 11 boundaries enroute his 94 falling few runs short of scoring another century this season while the Easwaran's innings was studded with 15 spotless boundaries.

At stumps B Amit and Aamir Gani were batting at 8 and 6 respectively.

It won’t be an easy job for Bengal in next four days, as Gujarat has some classy batsman like veteran Parthiv Patel and Priyank Panchal. The team will be heavily dependent on Ashoke Dinda as if he can take some quick wickets against Gujarat. The Bengal team management have told all the cricketers not to talk with the media during the match but despite doing all these there is no improvement in Bengal’s batting.

In another match, Vinay Kumar helped Karnataka grab the opening day honours as his figures of 6 for 34 - which included a hat-trick - helped the side bowl out Mumbai for a modest 173 in their Ranji Trophy quarter-finals clash in Nagpur on Thursday. In reply, Karnataka were motoring along nicely with 115 for 1 off 29 overs. In-form Mayank Agarwal (62 batting) and K Abbas (12 batting) were in the middle at stumps.

After scoring another pressure century Abhimanyu Easwaran feels Bengal can still get the upper hand with the bowling line up they have against Gujarat.

Talking to CAB, Easwaran said: "When i came to bat it was critical as we had lost three wickets. But Anustup and myself decided to play out the first two hours safely and then try to play the shots. It is cold and a sharp wind blows in the morning making batting difficult"

"Anustup played brilliantly. He deserved the century. We balanced the batting and made sure runs came at all time," he said.

Easwaran added that if we could reach 300 mark then Bengal had the ammunition to challenge Gujarat. "If we can go upto 300 we can challenge Gujarat. We have a good bowling attack. I wanted to continue with the bat but my bad that i could not," he signed off.

In the other quarterfinals KC Akshay claimed two wickets to help Kerala reduce Vidarbha to 45 for three on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy quarter-final match which was truncated due to wet outfield on Thursday.

On a day when only 24 overs of play was possible, Vidarbha lost three wickets after electing to bat.

Opener Faiz Fazal (2) got out cheaply following the start of the match after tea.

Although the other opener RR Sanjay (17) and Wasim Jaffer  (12) reached the double digit marks, they failed to keep their wickets intact.

At the close of play, Ganesh Satish  and Karn Sharma were both batting on 7 each.

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