Right through their match against Mumbai last week, Bengal dropped catches and got punished with centuries and a double century. Thursday was payback time, at Assam's expense.
Resuming on 257 for five, Wriddhiman Saha and Laxmi Ratan Shukla began Day II circumspectly while Assam, armed with a two-over-old second new ball, sought to make the most of the first hour when the Eden wicket has something for the medium-pacers.
Assam's big opportunity came, and went, in the ninth over of the day, 97th of the innings, when Dhiraj Goswami was introduced. Shukla, having added just three runs to his overnight 75, edged Goswami and the ball flew to the right of Kunal Saikia, who was wrong-footed. The former Bengal captain, playing his 100th first-class match, made Assam pay for the miss and how.
By the time Bengal declared on 562 for six, Shukla had scored 250 off 371 balls with 35 fours and three sixes before getting bowled by a chinaman from S Sriram. Saha was not out on 178 (355 balls, 4x15, 6x2).
Saha and Shukla, who joined hands with Bengal in disarray at 126 for five, added 417 runs for the sixth wicket. This is the highest for the sixth wicket in Ranji Trophy and the third-highest for that wicket in first-class cricket. Needing 413 to avoid the follow-on on a wicket that is good for batting, Assam were 10 for no loss at stumps. Key stats