Central ease into final

Central Zone expectedly entered the Duleep Trophy final on the basis of their 110-run first-innings lead as their semifinal against South Zone ended in a tame draw here on Tuesday.

Resuming their second innings at 378 for five, Central batted till lunch before declaring at 530 for eight while South survived some anxious moments before finishing on 152 for two when the match was called off at the start of the mandatory overs.

The day’s first session saw Robin Bist (160, 268b, 21x4) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (85, 213b, 12x4) extending their sixth-wicket partnership to 212 before both fell to non-regular bowlers, off-spinner Manish Pandey and seamer Robin Uthappa respectively.
Skipper Piyush Chawla, better known for his leg-spinners, showcased his batting prowess with a knock of 53 that in the context of the game and the innocuous bowling was of no consequence as South had virtually thrown in the towel by then.

In their second innings, South Zone batsmen just about managed to survive on a pitch of inconsistent bounce. Opener Robin Uthappa (10) did not last long as he was trapped plumb in front by seamer Bhuvneshwar while his partner Subramaniam Badrinath and No 3 Dinesh Kaarthick were far from convincing against the seamers.

However, once the seamers were taken off the attack, Badrinath and Kaarthick (49, 68b, 9x4, 1x6) batted with greater freedom to put on 85 for the second wicket, before the latter fell as he missed a cut off Chawla to be bowled by a ball that barely rose shin high.
Badrinath went on to reach only his second half-century of the season (58 n.o., 117b, 6x4, 2x6), while at the other end, Pandey batted well to remain unbeaten on 32 when stumps were drawn an hour before scheduled close. It was Pandey’s first competitive match since he underwent a hernia surgery in November, after the Ranji Trophy game against Mumbai at the Wankhede stadium.

SCORE BOARD

CENTRAL ZONE (I Innings): 293 all out

SOUTH ZONE (I Innings): 183

CENTRAL ZONE (II Innings, O/n: 378/5): 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 lbw Pandey 160, Parvinder Singh c Appanna b Binny 17, Bhuvneshwar Kumar c Appanna b Uthappa 85, Piyush Chawla c Kaarthick b Pandey 53, Jalaj Saxena (not out) 7, TP Sudhindra (not out) 2. Extras (B-3, LB-5, W-8, NB-8) 24. Total (for 8 wkts decl, 161 overs) 530.

Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-144, 3-188, 4-188, 5-218, 6-430, 7-521, 8-526.

Bowling: Abhimanyu Mithun 25-5-82-1, J Kaushik 20-5-52-1, V Yomahesh 22-5-53-0, KP Appanna 39-8-155-1, Stuart Binny 21-9-38-2, Amit Verma 12-2-49-0, Robin Uthappa 13-0-48-1, Manish Pandey 9-1-45-2.

SOUTH ZONE (II Innings): Robin Uthappa lbw Bhuvneshwar 10, S Badrinath (not out) 58, Dinesh Kaarthick b Chawla 49, Manish Pandey (not out) 32. Extras (LB-2, NB-1) 3. Total (for 2 wkts, 39 overs) 152.

Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-96.

Bowling: TP Sudhindra 7-1-19-0, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 5-4-4-1, Pankaj Singh 5-3-16-0, Piyush Chawla 13-0-75-1, Jalaj Saxena 9-2-36-0.

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