Bengal are in the driving seat after captain Manoj Tiwary's men bundled Himachal Pradesh for just 130 in the first inning in their second match of Ranji Trophy 2022-23. After earning a huge lead of 180 runs in the first inning, Bengal opted to bat again in the second inning despite a chance of compelling Himachal for a follow-on.
Day 2 started well for Himachal as Anustup Majumdar could not add that much to his late-night score and perished early in the day. The condition and pitch looked perfect for the seamers. But, Manoj Tiwary had some other plans.
Debutant Ravikant Singh was halted as we saw Shahbaz Ahmed coming to bowl from the High Court end after Ishan Porel bowled the first over from the pavilion end. The left-arm spinner did not disappoint the captain sending Raghav Dhawan pavilion for just five. Koushik Ghosh took a good catch at silly point to help him as well. Ishan struck from another end for Bengal as the scored board showed 10/2. That soon became 14/3 after Shahbaz provoked Amit Kumar to play a lofted shot over mid-off.
After that, the home team did not have to fight a great battle to get Himachal Pradesh's batters out except for Prashant Chopra who was a lone warrior for his team.
Sayan Shekhar Mondal took a brilliant running catch to dismiss Akash Vasisht which opened the doors for Bengal to run through Himachal.
After the dismissal of captain Rishi Dhawan (1), Praveen Thakur tried to build a partnership with Prashant Chopra but was trapped in front by Sayan Shekhar Mondal just before lunch. Another tactical brilliance by Manoj Tiwary to bring Sayan just for one over.
Prashant tried to fight back with a few shots after the lunch break as we mind games from Bengal and Himachal on Day 2. Mayank Dagar added 19 to resist some force but was eventually caught behind by his former U19 India teammate Ishan Porel.
Shahbaz then sent KD Singh back to the pavilion to take his first five wicket-haul of the season.
With all the talks of Bengal enforcing a follow-on, Abishek Das and Koushik Ghosh came out to bat for Bengal in a foggy Eden Gardens evening.
Abishek Das showed some glimpses of form as he scored a quick-fire 35 from 19 before getting trapped in front by Vaibhav Arora.
Sudip Gharami came at number three and looked busy from the word go. Gharami stayed not out on 32 from 34 as umpires called it a day after a bad light condition. Koushik Ghosh looked steady for his 21 off 60 as well.
Bengal assistant coach Saurashish Lahiri after the day's play said, "We are aiming for runs. We are looking to bat for a particular time. But, you never know about the conditions at Eden Gardens. We want to give our bowlers the best condition to bowl them out."