Calcutta/Rajkot: Iresh Saxena was the hero for Bengal on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy tie versus Saurashtra, here, on Saturday.
Left-arm spinner Iresh had career-best figures of five for 17 which helped Bengal dismiss the hosts for a meagre 209. Saxena grabbed five wickets in only 12.3 overs as Saurashtra, who were comfortably placed at 174 for four, lost their last six wickets for only 35 runs. It was Saxena's spell after tea that did the trick for Bengal who are desperate for an outright win.
Ravindra Jadeja top-scored for his side with a well-made 70 but there wasn't much support from the middle and lower order batsmen. Jadeja hit seven fours and a six in his 117- ball knock. At stumps, Bengal were seven without loss.
Saurashtra captain Jaydev Shah won the toss and elected to bat. However, the Saurashtra team management decided to keep the surface bone dry and didn't water the pitch suitably.
That resulted in the pitch offering turn from the third session of the first day and this match may well have an outright result unless Bengal bat long enough to clinch three points. Saurashtra have included a third specialist spinner Nayan Doshi (former India spinner Dilip Doshi's son).
Openers Bhushan Chauhan and veteran Shitansu Kotak started in a sedate manner, adding 64 runs for the opening wicket before Laxmi Ratan Shukla, coming in as fifth change, trapped the right-hander leg before for 22.
Kotak, who at 40 is probably the oldest player in the tournament, reached 40 off 93 balls with seven fours before Dinda induced an edge that flew to skipper Manoj Tiwary in the slips.