The last time they faced Madhya Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy semi-final was in the 2021-22 season. The result was not in their favour for Bengal at that time. But, this time they started the match on a positive note. Bengal finished on 307/4 on Day 1 in the Ranji Trophy 2022-23 semi-final against MP at Holkar Stadium.
Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary won the vital toss and chose to bat first on a wicket that looked good for batters, at least for the first two days. MP also wanted to bat first but could not get the toss in their favour.
The away team made two changes in the playing eleven and Karan Lal was sent to open the batting along with Abhimanyu Easwaran to face Avesh Khan and company.
The start was brilliant for them. A rare fifty-plus opening partnership that too in nine overs made the dressing room sigh a relief.
But Chandrakant Pandit's team is habituated to making a comeback. Back-to-back wickets for them saw Easwaran (27) and Lal (23) searching for their stumps. Anubhav Agarwal and Gaurav Yadav struck for MP.
Post that, it was all about the third-wicket partnership of Sudip Gharami and Anustup Majumdar. Sudip already having a great season looked solid while Anustup has always been Bengal's crisis man.
Bengal ended the first session on 111/2 with both Gharami and Anustup at the crease. Post lunch, both of them looked flawless. Gharami continued his great form punishing the bad balls whenever they were on offer. Majumdar on the other hand showed a master class against the spin of Kartikeya and Saransh Jain.
The second session went wicketless for MP as Bengal looked for a big total on the board. Soon after the tea, veteran Anustup completed his 13th first-class century and paved the path for Gharami to complete his 3rd ton of the season.
But, MP, just like champion teams, struck back later in the day. Avesh Khan, who already had 36 victims against his name, clean bowled Anustup Majumdar on 120. Sudip was trapped in front by Agarwal on 112 and suddenly there were two new batters on the crease.
Captain Manoj Tiwary (5) and all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed (6) handled the last few overs from Avesh Khan and company to take Bengal to 307/4 after day 1.