Opener Abhimanyu Easwaran batted with a lot of determination as his unbeaten 123 helped Bengal reach a decent 288 for 3 against Uttar Pradesh in a Ranji Trophy group league encounter, here today. It was a collective batting effort by a young Bengal top-order with Easwaran being ably supported by the talented left-hander Sudeep Chatterjee (73) and debutant southpaw Agniv Pan (53). However the day belonged sinewy Easwaran, who dropped anchor at one end en route his second first class hundred. His unbeaten 123 came off 241 balls with 18 boundaries -- his second in Ranji Trophy after his 150 not out against Tamil Nadu back in 2015. Manoj Tiwary called it right at the toss and Bengal openers Easwaran and Sayan Sekhar Mondal (30) provided a steady start with a stand of 64 in 20 overs. Left-handed Mondal, who has shown improved performance after being promoted to opening during late last season was just getting set when UP's only successful bowler Ankit Rajpoot (3/72) got one to move a shade away after pitching with Ekalavya Dwivedi holding onto the edge. The elegant Chatterjee then joined forced with Easwaran as the duo added 132 runs with minimum fuss in shade under 40 overs.
The found the gaps with ease as neither veteran leggie Piyush Chawla (0/36 in 16 overs) nor young chinaman Kuldeep Yadav (0/63 in 23 overs) could provide with a breakthrough. Both Chatterjee and Easwaran weren't deceived by Kuldeep's wrong 'un while they did not take much risk off Chawla's bowling occasionally punishing the loose balls. Both drove well off the front-foot against the pacers and waited for the turn playing both the spinners off the backfoot. Chatterjee, who recently played for one of the sides in Duleep Trophy, hit some flowing cover drives in his 11 hits to the fence. Just when Bengal was approaching 200-run mark, Chatterjee was bowled by Rajpoot after facing 140 balls for his 73. However Chatterjee's dismissal ddin't break the tempo as young left-hander Agniv showed a lot of maturity as he gave Easwaran company adding 86 runs for the third wicket. The former Bengal U-19 stumper hit six boundaries in his 81-ball knock as he reached his maiden half century on debut. However just as Bengal were looking to play out the day, Agniv became Rajpoot's third victim on a personal score of 51. Brief Scores: Bengal 288/3 in 88 overs (Abhiumanyu Easwaran 123 batting, Sudeep Chatterjee 73, Agniv Pan 51, Ankit Rajpoot 3/72) vs Uttar Pradesh.
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