Central bat South out of contention

Naman Ojha (104) and Robin Bist (104 n.o.) he­l­ped themselves to centur­ies as Central Zone took a de­cisive step towards a be­rth in the final of the Duleep Trophy with an overall lead of 488 by close of play on the penultimate day of their semifinal match against South Zone here on Monday.

Having gained a first-innings lead of 110, Central Zone, overnight 127 for one, piled up 378 for five in their second knock as the South bowlers toiled for little rewards.

A 140-run partnership between Ojha and Mohammad Kaif (43) for the second wicket followed by an unfinished 160-run association involving Bist and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (59 n.o.) featured the third day’s play that saw South Zone, after an early strike, going through the motions.

South began the day on a promising note, dismissing first-innings centurion Kaif who added just two runs to his overnight score of 41. Kaif top-edged a pull off Abhimanyu Mithun to mid-wicket where Amit Verma took a brilliant catch, with the ball coming from over his shoulder.

Mohnish Mishra was lucky to survive a confident appeal for leg-before when V Yomahesh rapped him on the pads with a delivery that ducked back in, while Ojha went into his shell approaching the hundred mark.

It allowed the South Zone bowlers to get back on top while their seamers showed greater discipline to stick to stump-to-stump line. However, the introduction of left-arm spinner KP Appanna loosened their hold on the batsmen.

The spinner came in for some stick, especially at the hands of Mishra, while Ojha, looking rather subdued, was dismissed soon after he got to his century when he was castled by Stuart Binny, brought on just before the lunch break.

In the very next over, Appanna dismissed Mishra (33) who was beaten by the flight and holed out in the deep where Manish Pandey took a well-judged catch, running to his right.

Thereafter, Central batsmen made no haste with an obvious intention of setting a huge target while the South Zone players also did not show any urgency as the proceedings drifted along at a sedate pace.

Post lunch, Central lost Parvinder Singh (17) who became Binny’s second victim and the Karnataka seamer was the pick of the bowlers, sticking to a fuller length while occasionally troubling the batsmen with one that moved off the seam. Bist and Bhuvneshwar then pressed on, grinding a progressively dispirited South Zone bowling into total submission as Central moved into an unassailable position by stumps.


score board

CENTRAL ZONE (I Innings): 293 all out in 92 overs

SOUTH ZONE (I Innings): 183 all out in 54 overs

CENTRAL ZONE (II Innings, O/n: 127/1): Naman Ojha b Binny 104, Vineet Saxena b Kaushik 2, Mohammad Kaif c Verma b Mithun 43, Mohnish Mishra c Pandey b Appanna 33, Robin Bist (batting) 104, Parvinder Singh c Appanna b Binny 17, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (batting) 59. Extras (B-3, LB-5, NB-8) 16. Total (for 5 wkts, 122 overs) 378.
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-144, 3-188, 4-188, 5-218.

Bowling: A Mithun 21-5-60-1, J Ka­ushik 20-5-52-1, Yomahesh 18-4-44-0, KP Appanna 34-8-133-1, Stuart Bi­nny 18-7-34-2, A Verma 11-2-47-0.

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