Ranji semis: Abhishek Porel, lower order propel Bengal to 438

Madhya Pradesh 56 for 2 (Jain 17*, Agarwal 4*) trail Bengal 438 (Majumdar 120, Gharami 110, A Porel 51, Kartikeya 3-95, Agarwal 2-38) by 382 runs

Bengal’s lower order steel helped them build on hundreds from Anustup Majumdar and Sudeep Gharami as they took control of the 2022-23 Ranji Trophy semi-final against defending champions Madhya Pradesh in Indore.

Bengal, resuming on 307 for 4, were bowled out for 438, but the twin hundreds during the course of a mammoth 241-run third-wicket stand helped Bengal have the overall advantage.

In reply, Madhya Pradesh were 56 for 2. Yash Dubey was out caught behind off Akash Deep while Himanshu Mantri was caught in the slips off Ishan Porel. Saransh Jain and nightwatchman Anubhav Agarwal held fort in the dying moments of play to ensure Madhya Pradesh had no further damage on a surface that was slowly beginning to wear down.

Bengal’s innings stuttered early on day two as they lost Shahbaz Ahmed for 14. Manoj Tiwary, the captain, and Abishek Porel, the wicketkeeper, then put together 78 for the sixth wicket before Tiwary’s downfall brought about a lower order collapse.

Bengal lost their last five wickets for just 37, with Kumar Kartikeya, the left-arm spinner, picking up three of those wickets to turn a wicketless spell into figures of 3 for 95 in 36.3 overs. The fast bowling pair of Anubhav Agarwal and Gourav Yadav picked up four wickets between them, while Avesh Khan proved to be a tad expensive, ending with figures of 1 for 111 in 31 overs.

With the odd delivery jumping on the batters, especially off a length off spinners, batting is likely to get progressively tougher as the game progresses.

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