B Amit’s all-round prowess and Aamir Gani’s useful contribution at the rear propelled Bengal to a commanding position against defending champions Gujarat after the second day of the Ranji Trophy quarter-final.
In reply to Bengal’s respectable first innings score of 354, beefed up by Aamir (49) and Amit (34), Gujarat were in a spot of bother at 180 for six.
After his contribution with the bat, Amit picked up three for 46 with his gentle medium pace to put the Ranji champions on the mat. He was ably supported by India U-19 Ishan Porel (2/55).
Gujarat lost their dependable opening duo of Priyank Panchal (4) and Samit Gohil (0) to Porel and Ashok Dinda, respectively, with only 17 runs on the board, but then controlled the proceedings due to Parthiv Patel (47) and Bharghav Merai (67).
The duo added 107 runs for the third wicket in only 30 overs. Patel hit seven boundaries in 95 balls while Merai faced 116 balls for his eight fours.
Things went downhill after Parthiv got dismissed as Gujarat lost four wickets for 20 runs during that phase of play.
Porel induced an edge off Parthiv, straight into Shreevats Goswami’s gloves.
Former IPL and India A player Manprit Juneja (10) was deceived by an incutter from Amit, being trapped in front of the wicket.
Merai, well set by then, was bowled by Amit and he also removed Chirag Gandhi, who nicked an outswinger into Shreevats’ gloves.
Gujarat required 175 runs more to get a first innings lead with four wickets in hand.
The experienced pair of Rujul Bhatt (13 batting) and Piyush Chawla (22) were at the crease at stumps on day two.
With three days left, the defending champions still have a good chance of making a comeback, considering that Bengal batting in the past have faltered in big games despite getting first-innings lead.
The day started at 261 for six and the pair of Amit and Aamir added 58 invaluable runs for the seventh wicket to take the team past 300-run mark.
Amit scored 36 off 59 balls with seven fours before he became Ishwar Chaudhary’s (5/87) fourth victim.
Gani, who missed his half-century by a run, hit eight boundaries off 109 balls, before being the last man dismissed.
Bengal 1st Innings 354 in 111.5 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 129, Anushtup Majumdar 94, Aamir Gani 49, B Amit 36, Ishwar Chaudhary 5/87)
Gujarat 1st Innings 180/6 in 59 overs (Bharghav Merai 67, Parthiv Patel 47, B Amit 3/46).