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Jaydev Unadkat, Chetan Sakaria Rattle Bengal, Hand Saurashtra Head Into Ranji Finals




Saurashtra left-arm pacers Jaydev Unadkat and Chetan Sakaria dealt a blow to Bengal’s dream of winning the Ranji Trophy after more than three decades as the home side’s top order was bundled out for just 174 on the opening day of the summit clash. Thursday’s encounter in Kolkata would have been more embarrassing for Bengal but spin all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed (69) and wicketkeeper Abhishek Porel (50) pulled the hosts out of trouble with half-centuries.

The duo led the way for the top order in a 101-run partnership for the seventh wicket and batted for nearly four hours to frustrate Saurashtra.

But he looked quick and took risks as Saurashtra wrapped up the Bengal innings with left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (2/19) taking two wickets.

At the close of the first day, Saurashtra were 81 for two, trailing Bengal by 93 runs.

In-form opener Harvik Desai (38), who has over 600 runs to his credit this season, was at the crease along with night watchman Sakariya (2).

The pair survived a late charge by Bengal pace duo of Akash Deep and Mukesh Kumar to bring down the deficit to under 100.

With their leading run-getter of the season, April Vasavada (826 runs at 75.06) yet to form, and the formidable pair of Sheldon Jackson (529) and Chirag Jani (509), Saurashtra would definitely like to grab the first innings lead.

Bengal’s bowlers were on a walk initially but Akash Deep and Mukesh Kumar found some purchase to dismiss Jay Gohil (6) and Vishvaraj Jadeja (25) respectively at the end of the day.

Returning after being released from the Test team, Unadkat (3/44) produced an impressive opening spell of 5-2-7-2, while Sakaria (3/33) initially talked the ball and helped Bengal Reduced to 17. 4 in 31 minutes.

Third pacer Chirag Jani (2/33) also made good use of the Eden surface to reach 34 for 5 in an hour and 13 minutes as his side lost half.

After winning a good toss on a green top, Unadkat, along with fellow left-arm pacer Sakariya, set the tone for the match by dismissing their top four batsmen for 17 runs in the morning session.

It is always important to save the first hour of play when the ball swings badly at Eden Strip and Bengal are well aware of the home conditions.

But it was the visitors who exploited the conditions well, bowling a pliable line that teased the off-stump of the batsmen.

The first hour needed to show some patience and judge the ball well, but Bengal’s top four batsmen played pre-arranged shots and lasted just 29 balls.

Abhimanyu Easwaran showed a sheer lack of application and fell for a duck off the fifth ball of the day, falling victim to Unadkat.

A spirited start to the Saurashtra camp and final debutant Sumant Gupta could not sustain the pressure, getting out at the other end for a single off Sakariya.

Sakaria cleared the off stump of Sudeep Kumar Gharami two balls later.

Skipper Manoj Tiwary became Unadkat’s second victim when he edged a wide delivery to Vishvaraj Jadeja at gully.

All eyes were on another veteran Anustup Majumdar, who was Bengal’s highest run-scorer this season, to revive the innings.

Majumdar also formed a mini-partnership with rookie fast bowler all-rounder Akash Ghatak, who replaced Pradipta Pramanik in the playing XI and was promoted to No.6.

But Majumdar played a freak shot against Saurashtra third seamer Jani as Bengal lost half of their side in the first session to a drinks blow.

At 34 for 5, Shahbaz took command of proceedings and counter-attacked the Saurashtra bowlers with 11 fours.

Luck favored him and he was relieved for 26 while Prerak Mankad for 38 hit the stumps in replays but Saurashtra did not use DRS.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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