Kolkata: An all-round show by Manoj Tiwary put Bengal in the driver's seat against Jammu & Kashmir on the third and penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy Group A cricket fixture at the Eden Gardens here Thursday.
The part-time legspinner Tiwary (2/19) claimed two wickets including that of J&K top run getter Bandeep Singh (73; 8x4, 1x6) to bowl the visitors out for 315 in their first essay, giving Bengal a handy 72-run first innings lead.
The stylish Bengal batsman then decimated the J&K attack, scoring an unbeaten 52 off 37 deliveries (6x4) as they ended the day at 216 for three, a total lead of 288 runs.
"We want to bat tomorrow as well and take the lead to at least 350. Our first target is to secure a draw and then declare as soon as possible," said Tiwary after the third day's play.
Having already ensured three points on basis of their first innings lead, Bengal bowlers would hope that the dead looking Eden Gardens surface aid them on the last day to give them a chance to pocket six points with an outright win.
Bengal approached their second innings positively as the opening pair of Abhimanyu Easwaran (63) and Arindam Das (60) put on 126 runs together at a healthy 4.0 run rate.
Both the openers fell in successive overs but Tiwary was full of elegance as he ensured that Bengal hold on to the momentum with Sudeep Chatterjee giving a perfect support with a 21-ball 29 (4x4) before becoming a victim to J&K skipper Parveez Rasool.
But after that Tiwary stitched an unbroken 36 runs with first innings centurion Wriddhiman Saha (8 batting) as the duo ensured that Bengal scored at 4.90 runs per over so as to give them an ideal score to defend in the J&K second innings.