Abhimanyu Easwaran reaffirmed his status as a future India prospect with a defining unbeaten 93 as Bengal are on course of batting defending champions Gujarat out of the Ranji Trophy quarter-final. After the seam troika of Ashok Dinda (3/48 in 18 overs), Ishan Porel (3/64 in 24.5 overs) and B Amit (3/53 in 16 overs) bowled out Gujarat for 224, ensuring a more than handy 130-run lead, Bengal ended the third day at a comfortable 177 for 1 in their second innings.
Manoj Tiwary's side are already 307 runs ahead with nine wickets in hand.
Having scored 129 in the first essay, Easwaran once again performed when his team needed the most.
With national selector Sarandeep Singh in attendance, Easwaran is almost a certainty when India A team travels to England next year.
With more than two and half days left, Bengal needed to bat with a lot of caution and the Dehradun-based right-hander dropped anchore scoring 93 off 218 balls with 12 boundaries.
He has now literally batted Gujarat out of the contest as a target in the 400-run vicinity will be very difficult to chase.
More importantly, he got good support from Abhishek Raman (33, 118 balls) as they added 99 for the opening stand. More importantly frustrated the Gujarat bowlers for nearly 40 overs.
Easwaran then added 78 runs with another youngster Writtick Chatterjee (40 batting, 103 balls).
Earlier, Rujul Bhatt (32) and Piyush Chawla (43) added 75 runs for the seventh wicket before left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik (1/21) cleaned him up.
The seasoned Chawla then tried a hoick off Dinda to be caught by Amit as Gujarat lost their last four wickets within a space of five runs.
Bengal 354 and 2nd Innings 177/1 (Abhimanyu Easwaran 93 batting, Writtick Chatterjee 40 batting).
Gujarat 1st Innings 224 (Bharghav Merai 67, Parthiv Patel 47, B Amit 3/53, Ashok Dinda 3/48, Ishan Porel 3/64).
Bengal are 307 runs ahead.