Bhuvneshwar returns to first-class cricket after six years with a five-for

Bhuvneshwar returns to first-class cricket after six years with a five-for
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The UP fast bowler helped his side fight back after they were bowled out for 60 by Bengal

File photo: Bhuvneshwar Kumar was playing his first first-class match since January 2018  •  Getty Images

File photo: Bhuvneshwar Kumar was playing his first first-class match since January 2018  •  Getty Images

Asked to bat on a green top after a delayed start at home in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh’s first innings lasted just 20.5 overs. Mohammed Shami’s younger brother Mohammed Kaif was the star for Bengal, claiming 4 for 14 in his 5.5 overs.

But what unfolded thereafter was a Bhuvneshwar masterclass as he marked his first-class return by claiming 5 for 25 from 13 overs, three of which were maidens. Bhuvneshwar, 33, who last played a Test in January 2018 against South Africa, dismissed Sourav Paul (13) and Sudip Gharami (0) in the space of three balls. He then returned to take the wickets of Anustup Majumdar (12), captain Manoj Tiwary (3) and Abhishek Porel (12) in the same spell.

With India’s five-match home Test series against England on the horizon and doubts lingering over Shami’s return, it remains to be seen if the selectors are prompted to reconsider Bhuvneshwar after Friday’s show. Bengal’s Mukesh Kumar, who is on national duty with the T20I team, remains ahead of him in the pecking order.

At stumps, Bengal were 95 for 5. Opener Sayan Ghosh, playing the lone vigil with a dogged 37 off 87 balls, was the last recognised Bengal batter left. He has Karan Lal for company, batting on 8.

Rahane bags a duck in Mumbai vs Andhra

Reddy dismissed Mumbai captain Rahane, who missed the Ranji Trophy opener with a stiff neck, for a golden duck and then denied Iyer a half-century by two runs in his comeback match. Returning to the Mumbai XI for the first time in the Ranji Trophy since the 2018-19 season, Iyer entertained with a run-a-ball 48, which included seven fours.

Iyer, who struggled for form in the two-match Test series in South Africa, could not convert his start and became the fifth wicket to fall for Mumbai.

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