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More importantly for his team, Jiwanjot, together with Mayak Sidhana (107 not out), added 206 runs for the second wicket to take Punjab to 229/1 in reply to Bengal’s first innings score of 326. Saha, who has also been having a good start to the season with three fifties on the trot, fell two short of his hundred but Jiwanjot’s run reduced the effort to a mere footnote by stumps.
With the fall of Saha, who was the last batsman out for Bengal, anticipation hung in the air. Almost everyone was curious to know what Jiwanjot had in store, following his double on debut. The Patiala lad walked in, disguising his determination behind a disarming smile. Even the fall of his partner Karan Goel early had no impact on the sedate Jiwanjot, who together with Sidhana blunted the Bengal attack, in particular their spearhead and last year’s highest wicket-taker, Ashok Dinda.
In fact, it was not Dinda but Laxmi Ratan Shukla who got the only wicket for Bengal in the day, getting through the defences of Goel for 12 runs. After Goel perished, the duo of Jiwanjot and Sidhana eschewed risk in their chase of Bengal’s total, which though not mammoth, was still tricky. Jiwanjot’s patient 201-ball knock included 10 fours while Sidhan’’s 190-ball innings had 17 boundaries and both batsmen displayed maturity in their shot selection.
Like his last innings, Jiwanjot looked in control and seldom took the aerial route, employing the straight bat. Sidhana, 25, who could not do much in the match against Hyderabad too made amends as Punjab ended the day less than 100 runs in the arrears.
Earlier, Rahul Sharma, who went at close to five an over on Day One, came back strong to pick up three wickets on Saturday. Sharma got Veer Pratap Singh, Sourav Sarkar and Saha.
Brief scores: Bengal 326 in 108 overs (W Saha 98, LR Shukla 62; R Sharma 4/53) vs Punjab 229/1 in 70 overs (J Singh batting 102 batting, M Sidhana batting 107; Shukla 1/35)