Kolkata: Wriddhiman Saha scored his third half-century in as many matches as Bengal crawled to 194 for eight in their second innings which took their overall lead to 272 against Saurashtra in a Ranji Trophy group league encounter at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday.
Saha (52) and Anushtup Majumdar (69) added 92 crucial runs for the fifth wicket to provide Bengal with a decent lead by the end of the day.
With a day's play left, Bengal would hope that their last two wickets atleast consume enough time on the final day in order to snuff out any hopes that Saurashtra will harbour of making a match of it. It will also depend on how well Cheteshwar Pujara bats on the final day and the kind of support he gets.
Starting the day with an overall lead of 83, Bengal were reduced to 59 for four by the 30th over as Saurashtra bowlers Sandeep Maniyar and Abhishek Bhatt were making the ball talk.
Opener Arindam Das toiled to reach 27 off 82 balls but makeshift opener Sourashis Lahiri (12), young Sandipan Das (1) and regular opener Rohan Banerjee (4) coming in at No 4, were dismissed cheaply.
Then it was Saha and Majumdar, who came in and batted for more than 31 overs. Saha faced 141 balls hitting six boundaries while Majumdar had seven hits to the fence in 156-ball knock.
Saha was finally removed when he flashed one from medium pacer Chirag Jani to wicketkeeper Sheldon Jackson. Skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla (5) also edged one to Jackson behind the stumps.
Bengal were reduced to 189 for eight when Bhatt removed Subhomoy Das and Majumdar to grab his third and fourth wickets respectively.
The tail-enders Ashoke Dinda (0 batting) and Sourav Sarkar (13 batting) then played out the remaining deliveries.
Brief Scores: Bengal 303 & 194/8 (Wriddhiman Saha 52, Anushtup Majumdar 69, Abhishek Bhatt 4/47, Chirag Jani 3/54).
Saurashtra 225. Bengal lead by 272 runs.