Bengal 438 and 59 for 2 (Gharami 12*, Majumdar 9*) lead Madhya Pradesh 170 (Jain 65, Shubham 44*, Akash Deep 5 for 42) by 327 runs
MP’s hopes of clawing back hinged on getting as close to Bengal’s first-innings score of 438, but a regular stream of wickets thwarted their progress. Three of their batting pillars – Rajat Patidar, Aditya Shrivastava and the returning Venkatesh Iyer – managed scores of 0, 7 and 7 respectively as MP slumped to 101 for 6.
Akash, who has shouldered the responsibility of leading Bengal’s attack in Mukesh Kumar’s absence, ended up with his third five-for of the season to take his wickets tally to 36 in 15 innings at an average of 20.08. He was complemented by left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed, who finished with 2 for 30.
In their second dig, Bengal lost openers Karan Lal ans Abhimanyu Easwaran early, but will have Anustup Majumdar and Sudip Gharami, centurions from the first innings, resume in their quest to bat MP out of the match and seal their second Ranji final appearance in three seasons.