Left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena's career-best figures of five for 17 helped Bengal dismiss hosts Saurashtra for a meagre 209 in a Ranji Trophy Group A match in Rajkot, on Saturday.
Saxena grabbed five wickets in only 12.3 overs as Saurashtra, who were comfortably placed at 174 for four, lost their last six wickets for only 35 runs. It was Saxena's spell after tea that did the trick for Bengal who are desperate for an outright win.
Ravindra Jadeja top-scored for his side with a well made 70 but there wasn't much support from the middle and lower order batsmen. Jadeja hit seven fours and a six in his 117-ball knock.
At stumps, Bengal were seven without loss.
Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Shah won the toss and elected to bat. However, the Saurashtra team management decided to keep the surface bone dry and didn't water the pitch suitably.
That resulted in the pitch offering turn from the third session of the first day and this match may well have an outright result unless Bengal bat long enough to clinch three points. Saurashtra have included third specialist spinner Nayan Doshi, the son offormer India spinner Dilip Doshi.
Openers Bhushan Chauhan and veteran Shitanshu Kotak started in a sedate manner, adding 64 runs for the opening wicket before Laxmi Ratan Shukla, coming in as third change, trapped the former for 22.
40-year-old Kotak, who is probably the oldest player in the tournament, reached 40 off 93balls with seven fours before Dinda induced an edge that flew to skipper Manoj Tiwary in the slips.
Saurashtralost just two wickets going into the lunch session. Another in-form player, Sagar Jogiyani, was caught by Wriddhiman Saha off Sourav Sarkar's bowling. Skipper Shah was also caught behind off Shami Ahmed and Saurashtra were reduced to 133 for four.
Jadeja took the attack back to the opposition camp but Saxena's post-tea spell of 11.3unchanged overs turned out to be deadly as he removed one batsmen after another. From 174 for four, they suddenly lost wickets in a heap with Jadeja falling for 70.
Brief scores: Saurashtra 209 all out in 79.3 overs (Ravindra Jadeja 70, Shitanshu Kotak 40, Iresh Saxena 5/17). Bengal 7/0 in 4overs.