Abhimanyu displays his batting prowess with ‘back-to-back’ century : The Group A match between Bengal and Uttar Pradesh played at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur, ended in a draw, giving 3 points to Bengal by virtue of their first innings lead and a solitary point to UP.
However, the cynosure of all eyes was the young Bengal opener, Abhimanyu Easwaran, who displayed his best performance in First Class games, thus far.
Losing his opening partner, Sayan Mondol (30), pretty early in the first innings, after Bengal chose to bat on winning the toss, Abhi put up a 132-run partnership for the second wicket alongwith Sudip Chatterjee (73). He also went on to add another 86 runs for the third wicket alongwith the debutant, Agniv Pan (51).
Abhi was also involved in a 56-run partnership with his skipper, Manoj Tiwary, before being dismissed, caught by the UP skipper-wicket-keeper, Eklavya Dwivedi, off the bowling of Imitaiz Ahmed.
Playing an innings of 457 minutes, facing 285 deliveries and dispatching the ‘red cherry’ 21 times to the ropes, Abhi notched up 142 runs. This was his second century in First Class games, following the unbeaten 150* runs he scored against Tamil Nadu in the 2014-15 season at Eden Gardens.
The Bengal score board read 338 runs for the loss of 4 wickets at that stage.
Thereafter, Tiwary took over the responsibility of keeping the score board ticking. Keeping Pankaj Shaw (20) and later Aamir Gani (12) for company, he added another 128 runs and took the team score to 466 runs. His personal contribution was 110 runs.
Restricting the opposition to 410 runs, Bengal took a crucial lead of 56 runs.
Commencing the second knock, Abhimanyu continued from where he left in the first innings.
Adding 115 runs for the first wicket, Abhi’s opening partner, Sayan Mondol, departed after scoring 51 runs and registering his fourth half-ton in his 22nd innings.
While Abhi dropped anchor on one side and kept the score board moving, wickets kept on falling like ‘nine pins’ at the other end.
Sudeep Chatterjee (4), Manoj Tiwary (1), Agniv Pan (0) and Pankaj Shaw (4) did very little to bother the scorers.
However, the wicketkeeper, Srivats Goswami, who faced just a solitary delivery and could not open his account in the first knock, had different ideas. He joined Abhi in the middle with the team scoring reading at 129 runs for the loss of 5 wickets.
The pair stayed together for the next 28.1 overs and added 145 runs for the sixth wicket. This, eventually, proved to be the best partnership for any wicket in the match. In the process Goswami registered his second FC century in his 48th innings.
Spending 113 minutes at the crease, facing 91 deliveries, he scored a well deserved 100 runs with the help of 17 fours and a huge six before being unfortunately ‘run out’ by Imitiaz Ahmed.
As Bengal declared their innings with 274 runs for the loss of 6 wickets in their second innings, they had set a target of 331 runs for UP to chase.
Abhimanyu Easwaran, playing a patient and cautious knock for 317 minutes, facing 209 balls and striking 11 fours, remained unbeaten on a well made 110* runs, his third First Class century, his maiden ’back-to-back’ century.
For his exploits with the bat, Abhi was awarded the Player of the Match.