Opener Abhimanyu Easwaran cracked a second successive innings century as he along with skipper Manoj Tiwary led Bengal's strong fightback against Punjab in their do-or-die Ranji Trophy Elite Group B clash Wednesday.
The 23-year-old opener was unbeaten on 100, his third of the season and 10th overall, while Tiwary returned to form with an elegant 90 not out as the duo stitched an unbroken 180 runs partnership to revive their hopes.
Bengal conceded a huge 260 runs first innings lead, thanks to an 83-run last wicket partnership between Manpreet Gony (69 not out) and Siddharth Kaul (nine). Gony smashed five sixes and six boundaries en route to his knock from 67 balls.
The hosts were 218 for 2 at stumps on the penultimate day, still trailing by 42 runs as anything could be possible on the final day.
But, Abhimanyu and Tiwary looked at ease and rebuilt the innings in the second session.
The Jadavpur University Salt Lake Campus wicket looked a complete batting paradise and the Bengal duo made full use of it, striking all around the ground.
But Gony propped up the total from 363/9 with his quickfire innings.
Bengal mentor Arun Lal criticised Punjab and said they have "killed the game" as they continued batting despite an overnight lead of 170 runs.
"They killed the match. They were 170 runs ahead on second day, they should have declared and got us out. So that we can play something to score for. But they dilly-dallied this morning," Lal's defence sounded more like an excuse for the failure of his spinners Amir Gani, Pradipto Pramanik and Writtick Chatterjee.
He went on to lavish praise on Abhimanyu and Tiwary and said: "They thought we will fall down and die. Now see our reply. If you kill the game for us, we will try our hardest to kill the game for you."
Punjab top-scorer Anmolpreet however said the game is still result-oriented.
"If they set a target we will go for it. It's still a result-oriented game. I think one team will bag six points definitely," Anmolpreet said.
Brief Scores Bengal 187 and 218/2; 58 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 100 batting, Manoj Tiwary 90 batting). Punjab 447; 131.3 overs (Anmolpreet Singh 126, Shubman Gill 91, Manpreet Gony 69 not out, Mandeep Singh 44, Gitansh Khera 42; Mukesh Kumar 5/114, Pradipta Pramanik 4/108).
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)