Kolkata, Dec 17 (UNI) Uttar Pradesh pushed Bengal to the brink of relegation from the elite group, skittling them out for a paltry 149, before notching up 128 for two at stumps on day one of the Ranji trophy tie here today.
In reply to Bengal's 149, Uttar Pradesh began confidently after losing T M Srivastava for 13 runs.
R P Srivastava and S Raina added 91 runs for the second wicket to take the game away from Bengal.
R P played a strokeful 58 studded with 11 boundaries, showing that the Bengal bowling lacked both venom and bite. Paul who picked both wickets for Bengal, finally got him.
At the other end Raina was a picture of concentration playing with cautious aggression. He was unbeaten on 55 at stumps with nine boundaries and looking good for many more.
He cut and drove elegantly and mixed his scores with fine boundaries to help Uttar Pradesh assert their domination.
Bengal chose to bat first after winning the toss and the green-top at the Eden Gardens that promised to be sporting, after being called a dead track and widely tossed up for analysis, proved to be their nemesis yet again.
The Bengal batting collapsed for the third time in three innings. If losing to rookies Orissa was not enough, they made sure the slide continued.
Anustup Mazumdar and Arindam Das fell for identical scores of 19 to debutante Bhubhnesh Kumar after promising starts and the collapse began. By the 27th over Bengal were five wickets down.
Other than Manoj Tewari's lbw for two to Pravin Kumar that video replays showed an inside-edge, none of the batsmen showed any application as Bengal perished.
Bengal coach Bharat Arun later said, '' We batted poorly. It is a batting track and all we had to do was negotiate the bowling properly for the first session. We failed. '' It was only a late surge by Sourashis Lahiri (not out 40) along with Ranadeb Bose (12 off 46 balls) and S S Paul (9 off 16 balls) that saw Bengal creep past the 100 runs mark.
Laxmi Ratan Shukla once again failed as the captain to lead from the front giving his wicket for 22 to Srivastava off Piyush Chawla.
The UP bowling bowled in unison with Bhubhnes Kumar, Pravin Kumar and Piyush Chawla all picking up three wickets each.