Easwaran slams ton on day one

Opener Abhimanyu Easwaran showed his mettle under pressure as his patient 129 enabled Bengal to score 261/6 at stumps on the first day of their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against defending champions Gujarat.

Courtesy Easwaran's sixth first-class hundred and his 175-run stand for the fifth wicket with veteran Anushtup Majumdar (94), Bengal's score had a semblance of respectability after they were reduced to 59 for 4 at one stage.

Easwaran showed good big match temperament as he pulled his team out of troubled waters. His 246-ball knock included 17 boundaries. He was finally dismissed by Chintan Gaja (2/75).

With Bengal playing five specialist bowlers on a greenish Sawai Man Singh track, the tail-enders would now need to get the team past 300-run mark.

At Vijayawada, left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra struck thrice, helping Delhi reduce Madhya Pradesh to 223 for six on day one their quarterfinals.

Opener Ankit Dane (59) and Naman Ojha (49) batted well for Madhya Pradesh but could not get the big score their team wanted.

Harpeet Singh frustrated the Delhi bowlers with an unbeaten 47 towards the end of the day and was batting alongside Puneet Datey when stumps were drawn.

Delhi struck early after opting to field as medium pacer Navdeep Saini trapped opener Rajat Patidar in front of the stumps. Dane then struck a 59-run stand with Shubham Sharma (17) before the opener was adjudged lbw off pacer Vikas Mishra.

Ojha held the innings together after Dane's dismissal, stitching a 59-run stand with Devendra Bundela (17) before the duo departed in quick succession to leave Madhya Pradesh in trouble at 157 for five.

Mishra was the stand out bowler for Delhi with three wickets for 40 runs in 24 overs. Vikas Tokas, Manan Sharma and Saini were the other wicket-takers.

In the other game in Surat, Vidarbha were 45 for three in 24 overs after the match got off to a delayed start.

Brief scores (quarterfinals):

At Surat: Vidarbha: 45/3 in 24 overs (Sanjay Ramaswamy 17; Akshay K C 2-14) vs Kerala.

At Jaipur: Bengal: 261/6 in 86 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 129, Anustup Majumdar 94; Ishwar Chaudhary 3-49, Chintan Gaja 2-75) vs Gujarat.

At Vijayawada: Madhya Pradesh: 223/6 in 90 overs (Ankit Dane 59, Naman Ojha 49, Harpreet Singh 47; Vikas Mishra 3-40) vs Delhi.

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