Mukesh Kumar returns to make a difference in Ranji Trophy match | Cricket News

KOLKATA: Twelve wickets fell on the opening day as Bengal took control of the Elite Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy match against Bihar at the Eden Gardens here on Friday.
The last time Bengal bowlers dominated their rivals so convincingly was against Uttar Pradesh when they bowled them out for 60 runs in one session at Kanpur. That match unfortunately did not go in Bengal’s favour as the weather played spoilsport.But this time Bengal should end up with maximum points against an opposition who are still wanting at this level of cricket.
The Bengal pace trio of Mukesh Kumar, Suraj Jaiswal and Mohammed Kaif ran through the Bihar innings to dismiss them for 95 after skipper Manoj Tiwary won the toss and elected to bowl.
At stumps on Day I, the hosts have taken a slender 16-run lead finishing at 111 for two with opener Abhimanyu Easwaran once again leading from the front with an unbeaten 48. Anushtup Majumder (13) was giving him company.
Mukesh Kumar played his first match for Bengal this Ranji season and straightaway made a difference, picking up four wickets for 18 runs in his 14 overs. However, he got good support from his new-ball partner Jaiswal, who too returned with four wickets giving away 47 runs.
“It’s very satisfying to return to play for Bengal, I missed this dressing room,” Mukesh said after the day’s play. The pacer felt staying with the national side has helped him make some changes in his game, which is giving dividends.
“Coach (Dravid) always asks us to continue doing what we were doing at the domestic level. I have not changed much but made some alterations in my landing and rotation,” he revealed.
The pacer was all praise for Jaiswal. “He is very consistent and promising. I hope he will continue doing well for his team,” he added.
It was Jaiswal who drew first blood by having opener Piyush Singh trapped in front in the second over of the match. While Kaif claimed his only wicket having opener Mahrour caught behind by Abhishek Porel, Mukesh struck in the very next over by shattering wicketkeeper Bipin Saurabh’s stumps.
Except for a 32-run fourth-wicket stand between Sakibul Gani and Rishav Raj, Bihar failed to have any meaningful partnerships and kept on losing wickets at regular intervals to be bowled out just after the lunch break.
Bengal tried Shakir Gandhi as Easwaran’s new opening partner, but the left-hander was clean bowled by former Bengal pacer Veer Pratap Singh for 19. Karan Lal, coming up the order, did not survive long and perished for 28.

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