Mumbai: Bengal opener Arindam Das carried his bat through for an unbeaten 98 but could not prevent hosts Mumbai from taking a handy 96-run first innings lead on the second day of the four-day Ranji Trophy Group A match today.
Arindam, who was not in the initial probables list of Bengal squad batted for nearly five hours but didn't get enough support from the other end as only skipper Manoj Tiwary crossed the 20-run mark with Bengal being bowled out for 201 in 65.4 overs.
Mumbai scored 297 in their first essay with all-rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla ending up with five-wicket haul.
Playing his 71st first-class match, the veteran opener Arindam faced 199 balls and hit 16 fours in the process. Left-arm spinner Ankit Chavan had the best figures of four for 61. Mumbai were six for no loss in the second essay.
With none of the other Bengal batsmen, barring skipper Tiwary giving Das meaningful support as the Mumbai bowlers struck to their task relentlessly on a wicket affording good carry for the new ball bowlers and copious turn for Chavan, in particular.
Das and Tiwary put on 72 runs in 120 balls and 101 minutes, but once this third wicket partnership was broken by Chavan who induced the rival skipper to drive on the up for a catch at mid-off, things went downhill for Bengal who lost their last five wickets for just 51 runs in 18.2 overs.
The only other batsman apart from Das and Tiwary to reach double figures was Subomoy Das (19). He was dropped at second slip off Chavan but failed to capitalise and fell to the next ball, caught at first slip to leave Bengal at 132 for 5.
Bengal began the day well with Laxmi Ratan Shukla picking up the wicket of Ramesh Powar to end up with five wickets and left arm spinner Iresh Saxena adding two more to his tally for a final haul of four for 105.
But the visitors began in a disastrous fashion when Arindam ran out his opening partner Rohan Banerjee after first accepting the call for a third run and then refusing it with his opening partner three fourths of the way down.
Bengal, 16 for 1, lost one down batsman Writam Porel when he was caught in the slip cordon driving at Dhawal Kulkarni's away swinger to leave them at a difficult 20 for 2.
The repair work by Arindam Das and skipper Tiwary, with the latter playing some spanking straight drives, looked good when it lasted though the visiting team captain was lucky when Jaffer grassed him at 23 in the slips off Chavan in the latter's first over.
The Bengal captain celebrated by carting the bowler for a six and a four in successive balls before the latter exacted revenge with a fuller length ball, after a short ball that the batsman cut for another four, that Tiwary spooned to mid off.
Tiwary's cameo came off 64 balls and contained five fours and a six. His departure came 48 minutes to tea and Bengal lost another wicket, that of Wridhiman Saha, before Arindam and Subhamoy Das carried the score to 128 at tea.
The post-tea period saw a dramatic collapse with Subomoy unable to cash in on the chance he got. Abhishek Jhunjunwala squared up to a peach of a ball from Avishkar Salvi to edge the bowler to the cordon behind.
Then Chavan and Kshemal Waingankar cut through the tail by bagging two wickets apiece to end the innings and leave Das stranded two short of a hundred. Brief scores: Mumbai 297 (W Jaffer 80, A Nayar 62, A Tare 38, A Chavan 35, D Kulkarni 37; L R Shukla 5 for 38, I Saxena 4 for 105) and 6 for no loss. Bengal 201 (A Das not out 98, M Tiwary 39; A Chavan 4 for 61).