Shillong, Dec 14: Bihar took the upper hand over Meghalaya on the first day of their Ranji Trophy plate group match at the MCA Cricket Ground here today.

The hosts won the toss and chose to bat first, but the decision did not quite go to plan, with Meghalaya bowled out for just 125 in 52.5 overs after lunch. In response Bihar were on 80/2 at stumps, trailing by 45 runs. Bad light stopped play twice before stumps were called by the umpires.

Neither team was able to score freely, with both going at less than three runs per over.

Meghalaya’s Raj Biswa was the sole success story with the bat today. He hit 56, with four fours and three sixes, but, he could not stitch together a solid partnership as wickets fell regularly at the other end.

In a rare bad day for them, the state’s guest/professionals Punit Bisht, Yogesh Nagar and Gurinder Singh were unable to hit too many runs and it was only thanks to a helpful 38 from Abhay Negi (5x4s, 1x6s) down the order saw Meghalaya over the 100-run mark.

Ashutosh Aman, a left-arm spinner, proved to be Meghalaya’s chief stumbling block, as he claimed 8/51, including the wickets of all three guest/professionals. In Bihar’s last two Ranji matches Aman has taken 21 wickets and was able to find success against Meghalaya as well.

In the chase Meghalaya were able to scalp a wicket in Bihar’s first over, with pacer Lakhan Singh rattling the stumps of Indrajit Kumar for a duck.

However, captain Babul Kumar (43 not out) and Kumar Rajnish (20) slowly set Bihar’s innings on a better trajectory before Gurinder took a very sharp catch off his own bowling to dismiss Rajnish. Lakhan ended the day with figures of 1/8, while Gurinder finished on 1/25.

(Photo of a Bihar batsman bowling contributed by the Meghalaya Cricket Association)

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