Sayan’s maiden century help Bengal pile up the runs : Team Bengal is clearly blessed with talented batsmen and on every occasion, one or the other rise to the occasion and help the team put up a big score.
If the young opener, Abhimanyu Easwaran gave a great start to the innings in the opening game against UP at the Sawai Manshingh Stadium, Jaipur, it was his opening partner, Sayan Sekhar Mondal, who did the ‘honours’ in the second encounter against Yuvraj Singh led Punjab at Lohnu Cricket Ground, Bilaspur.
Put into bat, Bengal lost the hero of the previous game, Abhimanyu, very cheaply. Facing only 3 deliveries for his 8 runs, Abhi fell ‘leg before’ to the pacer Sandeep Sharma in the fourth delivery of the match.
Bengal’s top run-getter in the 2015-16 season, Sudip Chatterjee, then joined Mondal and both these youngsters together played cautiously and stitched a good partnership of 102 runs for the second wicket.
Posting his 11th half-ton, Chatterjee scored 51 runs off 87 balls in an innings of 139 minutes with the help of 8 boundaries before being caught by Manpreet Gony off the bowling of Vinay Choudhary.
Agniv Pan, who made his debut in the previous game, and also largely contributed to the huge first innings total of his team, walked down to the middle, to give company to the ‘well set’ Mondal.
Both of them complimented each other and wenton to add to the team’s total, which had greatly recovered after the initial setback.
The duo added a huge 140 runs for the third wicket. Mondal notched up his maiden First Class century in his 23rd innings. He also has four half-centuries to his credit.
In an innings panning 290 minutes, facing 200 deliveries, the south-paw scored 135 runs, his highest individual score, with the help of 22 hits to the fence. Mondal departed with the team score reading at a respectable 250 runs for the loss of 3 wickets.
Not to be affected by the break of the partnership, Pan continued relentlessly accompanied by his skipper, Manoj Tiwary. The pair added another 39 run for the fourth wicket.
In the process, Pan reached his second half-ton in his very second appearance and notched up a well made 70 runs off 133 balls with 12 fours in his stay at the cease for a little over 3 hours (185 minutes).
Another 40 runs later, Tiwary, after scoring 45 runs off 61 deliveries with 7 fours, walked back to the pavilion, caught by Taruvar Kohli off the bowling of Sandeep Sharma.
At close of play on Day 1, Pankaj Shaw remained unbeaten on 11* runs while the left-arm spinner, Pragyan Ojha remained unbeaten on 2* runs.
Backed by wonderful innings by the top order – Mondal, Chatterjee, Pan and Tiwary, Bengal are sitting pretty with 332 runs on the board for the loss of 5 wickets.
With not much of a batting to come, they should look to add as much as possible from start of play on Day 2.
For Punjab, Sandeep Sharma (17-2-70-2), Vinay Choudhary (18-4-66-2) and Manpreet Gony (166-6-51-1) were the chief wreckers.