Ranji Trophy: Kerala need eight wickets on final day to score first win

Jalaj Saxena
Jalaj Saxena registered another 10-wicket haul at the first-class level. File photo: KCA

Thiruvananthapuram: Bengal finished on 77/2 in their pursuit of 449 on the third day of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match against Kerala here on Sunday. Bengal need 372 more on the final day to pull of an improbable win, while Kerala need eight wickets to notch up their first win of the season.

Opener Abhimanyu Easwaran was batting on 33, while Sudip Kumar Gharami was dismissed by Shreyas Gopal in the final over of the penultimate day's play for 31. Jalaj Saxena sent back opener Ranjot Singh Kharia for two to claim his 10th wicket of the game. This was the 37-year-old off-spinner's eighth 10-wicket haul in first-class cricket.

Kerala, who gained a huge first innings lead of 183, declared their second innings on 265/6 at the tea break. Opener Rohan Kunnummal, Sachin Baby and Gopal smashed fifties as the home side scored at a rate of over four. Saxena (37) and Kunnummal added 88 for the opening wicket. 

Earlier, Saxena claimed career-best figures of 9/68 as Bengal, who resumed on 172/8, were bowled out for 180 on the third morning. The off-spinner picked up both the wickets. However, Kerala did not enforce follow on.

Brief scores: Kerala 363 & 265/6 declared in 64.2 overs (Rohan Kunnummal 51, Sachin Baby 51, Shreyas Gopal 50 not out; Shahbaz Ahmed 3/80) vs Bengal 180 in 51.1 overs & 77/2 in 20.4 overs.

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