Kolkata, March 2: Ishan Porel complemented Anustup Majumdar's unbeaten century with a five-wicket haul to put Bengal in command against a star-studded Karnataka in their Ranji Trophy semi-final on Sunday (March 1).
After Majumdar's 149 not out propelled Bengal to 312 after being down at 67 for 6 at one stage, the 21-year-old Porel snared 5 for 39 as the three-pronged Bengal pace attack dismissed the batting-heavy Karnataka for a paltry 122 in 36.2 overs, their lowest total this season.
India opener KL Rahul, who was adjudged man-of-the-series in their 5-0 T20I whitewash of New Zealand recently, looked out of sorts and scored a forgettable 67-ball 26 (2x4s).
Spinner Krishnappa Gowtham (31) top-scored for Karnataka in a quick 56-run (46 balls) eighth-wicket stand with Abhimanyu Mithun (24) to help Karnataka avoid the follow-on but only to concede a massive 190-run first innings lead.
A total of 15 wickets tumbled on day two as Bengal were 72 for 4 at stumps with Sudip Chatterjee (40 not out) giving Majumdar (1 not out) company, extending the hosts' overall lead to a sizable 262 runs.
In the fag end, Majumdar survived after getting out off a no-ball off Ronit More, as Bengal brightened their prospects to make their first final in Ranji Trophy after 13 years.
Having already conceded the first-innings lead, Karnataka will now have to pull off something special in their second essay to avoid their third semi-final defeat in a row.
Bengal first innings: 312 in 92 overs (Anustup Majumdar 149 not out; Ronit More 3/52, Abhimanyu Mithun 3/77, Prasidh Krishna 2/78).
Karnataka first innings: 122 in 36.2 overs (KL Rahul 26; Ishan Porel 5/39, Akash Deep 3/30, Mukesh Kumar 2/46)
Bengal second innings: 72/4 (Mithun 3/9).
Saurashtra in command over Gujarat
Sheldon Jackson struck a gritty hundred before the bowlers shone as Saurashtra gained the upper hand on the second day of their Ranji Trophy semifinal against Gujarat.
Jackson's knock of 103 helped Saurashtra post 304 and then the home team bowlers wreaked havoc on Gujarat's batting line-up to reduce them to 119 for six.
Resuming on overnight 217 for five, through Sheldon Jackson and Chirag Jani (29), Saurashtra negated the early challenge posed by the opposition bowlers.
Jackson got a reprieve on 82 when skipper Parthiv Patel dropped a catch off pacer Arzan Nagwaswalla. He made the most of this by notching up his 19th first-class hundred and third this season.
Jackson and Jani were looking good before Gujarat bounced back with medium-pacer Roosh Kalaria sending both the batsmen back to the pavilion.
He first trapped Jani in front of the wicket and then got Jackson to edge to Parthiv as Saurashtra slipped to 266 for seven.
Jackson and Jani added 103 run wicket for the sixth wicket.
Prerak Mankad (15) and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (15) ensured the hosts didn't lose any further wicket till lunch. Saurashtra took lunch at 290 for seven.
After lunch, Gujarat bowlers wrapped up the tail as Saurashtra lost three wickets for seven runs.
Pacer Arzan Nagaswalla (5/81) grabbed a five-for, while Axar Patel took three wickets and Roosh Kalaria bagged two.
However, Saurashtra pacers reduced Gujarat to one for 2 after Unadkat sent Priyank Panchal (0) in the first over and in the second over Chetan Sakariya cleaned up Samit Gohel (1).
Then, Dhruv Raval (35) and Bhargav Merai (13) tried to steady the ship, but the latter was dismissed when he offered a sitter to Jackson off Prerak Mankad, as the visitors slipped to 37 for three.
Raval, too, was unable to convert his start as he became Unadkat's second victim with Gujarat in deep trouble at 58 for four.
Dharmendrasinh Jadeja then struck twice and got the prize wicket of Parthiv (27) as Gujarat had lost half the side for 95. It soon became 97 for six when Jadeja sent back Chirag Gandhi for a zero.
Rujul Bhatt (27 not out) and Axar Patel (7 not out) made sure that there were no further losses before stumps.
Saurashtra: 304 (Sheldon Jackson 103, Kishan Parmar 37; Arzan Nagwaswalla 5-81) vs Gujarat: 119/6.