Buoyed by his call-up into the Indian Test side, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja snared four Bengal wickets and then scored an undefeated 67 to put Saurashtra in complete command in a Ranji Trophy group A league encounter in Rajkot on Sunday.
Jadeja took four for 48 as Bengal were dismissed for a paltry 112 runs in 61.4 overs--- 97 short of Saurashtra's first innings score of 209. In reply, the hosts reached 134 for four at stumps, consolidating their lead to 231 and have a good chance of getting six points on a track where the ball is turning square.
For Bengal, skipper Manoj Tiwary battled hard but was unable to continue after scoring 55 which meant that Bengal innings was terminated at 112 for nine. Tiwary, it is learnt might be unable to bat in Bengal's second innings.
Apart from Tiwary, only veteran opener Arindam Das reached double figures scoring 20 while the players with IPL contracts like Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (9), Debabrata Das (8), Wriddhiman Saha (6), Laxmi Ratan Shukla (5) couldn't show stomach for fight on a pitch which wasn't exactly conducive for batting.
The highest partnership in the Bengal innings was 24 runs for the fifth wicket between Tiwary and Jhunjhunwala.
Veteran left-arm spinner Nayan Doshi justified his return to the playing XI picking up three wickets for only 24 runs.
Jadeja scored his second half century of the match smashing nine fours and two sixes en route his unbeaten 67 off 59 balls. He knew that survival was difficult on this track and successfully hit his way out of attack. He added 61 runs for the unbroken fifth-wicket stand with Sheldon Jackson (16 batting).
As of now, Saurashtra look firm favourites to wrap up the match by the end of the third day as Bengal's batting doesn't have the firepower to counter Jadeja-Doshi twin threat.
Brief Scores: Saurashtra: 209 & 134/4 (R Jadeja 67 batting); Bengal: 1st Innings 112 in 61.4 overs (Manoj Tiwary retd 55, Ravindra Jadeja 4/48, Nayan Doshi 3/24).