New Delhi: Favourites Bengal picked up the remaining four Services wickets within 90 minutes to grab three points by virtue of their 127-run first innings lead in their fifth round Ranji Trophy encounter here on Sunday.
Chasing Bengal's first innings total of 431, Services were all out for 304 in in 120.5 overs as speedster Ashoke Dinda (3/97 in 32 overs) and off-break bowler Sourashish Lahiri (3/69) were successful bowlers.
Left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena (2/54 in 30 overs) also did a good job by removing Soumya Ranjan Swain (56) early in the morning with an armer that he padded up at the Airforce Ground in Palam.
Bengal now have 11 points from five games and will be desperate for an outright win in their next game against the Railways which will be followed by two heavyweight teams in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Sourashish Lahiri was adjudged man-of-the-match by the on-field umpires and match referee Sanjay Patil and will get a financial reward of Rs 25,000.
The match as a contest was over when Services were all out within 19.5 overs in the day. Once Irfan Khan (0) was run out after a mix-up, Services were reduced to 267 for eight and still required 15 runs to avoid follow-on. It was Suraj Yadav (42 no), who batted with a twisted ankle helped Services to get past the 282-run mark required to avoid follow-on.
In an inconsequential second innings, Bengal scored 126 for three with veteran Subhamoy Das (54) and Arindam Das (50) helping themselves to half-centuries.
The match was called off after the first mandatory over with out-of-form batsmen Anushtup Majumdar (12 no, 35 balls) and Sandipan Das (5, 27 balls) batting out 10 overs without showing any positive intent making it unbearable for the handful who were present at the ground.
When skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla was asked about it, he said,"Actually when you are out of form, one feels that it's better to remain not out than go for shots and get out. Definitely, we would be backing both the boys to do well in the coming games. As far as this match is concerned, I am happy to get three points from a track like this".
The Bengal skipper also said that he would be speaking to the selectors about adding Bengal U-25 captain Sudeep Chatterjee to the squad. Sudeep scored a century against Gujarat in the last CK Nayudu Trophy game.
The move will help them think about replacing Sandipan, who has not at all looked ready for first-class cricket unlike some of his former U-19 teammates such as Unmukt Chand, Baba Aparajith and Vijay Zol who are regulars in their respective senior state teams.
Questioned whether it's high time to get an outright win in order to qualify, Shukla again insisted about playing good cricket.
"If we can play well for four days, points will follow. Sourashis was outstanding in this match and the bowlers did a tremendous job considering the nature of the track," Shukla said.
Brief Scores: Bengal 431 & 126/3 in 54 overs (Subhamoy Das 54, Arindam Das 50).
Services 304 in 120.5 overs (Vishnu Tiwary 71, Soumya Ranjan Swain 56, Pratik Desai 52, Ashoke Desai 3/97, Sourashis Lahiri 3/69). Points: Bengal 3; Services 1.