Ferozshah Kotla demands extra effort from pacemen. Bending the back, therefore, is key here.
The second day of the Duleep Trophy semifinal between North Zone and East Zone saw two pacemen pounding the track with all their might and enlivening the proceedings.
But only one of the two pitched the ball right regularly. North's Parwinder Awana, 25, used the morning's helpful conditions to lay waste East's middle order and restrict the total to 315 from the overnight 258 for four.
Awana, whose effort in the Ranji Trophy (he took two fifers and even clocked 142kmph) was a rare solace for a disappointing Delhi, added five wickets in the morning session with incisive bowling to finish with a career-best 84 for six.
In contrast, East Zone's Ashok Dinda tried to scare the batsmen with bounce. Barring a few balls that whizzed past the batsmen, and a couple that surprised them, Dinda found 20-year-old Mandeep Singh equal to the challenge.
Mandeep, known for his appetite for runs and oodles of talent, batted at No 3 in a side having no specialist for the slot. He impressed with bold stroke-play that included glides over the slips and third man besides the drives.
The former India under-19 World Cupper looks a compact batsman and is known to make opportunities count.
Last season, he emerged on the national scene with three rollicking tons in three different categories.
He scored a hundred in U-19, following it up with another in an U-22 game. The success saw Punjab draft him into the Ranji Trophy squad and he scored a ton there too.
The grit of a determined Shikhar Dhawan helped Mandeep add 86 runs for the second wicket. But like he's done all season in Ranji, Dhawan threw it away after doing all the hard work.
He was caught behind off Dinda a little while after Mandeep had been caught plumb by the same bowler.
The two wickets left North at 112/3, but Mayank Sidhana and Paras Dogra parried for the rest of the afternoon to take their side to 162/3.
Brief scores: East Zone 315 (W Saha 124; P Awana 6/84) vs North Zone 162/3 (Mandeep 55, S Dhawan 40).
Central take lead
PTI adds from Chennai: Central Zone put defending champions South Zone in a spot of bother by gaining a solid first-innings lead of 110 runs on the second day of their four-day cricket semifinal match for the Duleep Trophy here on Sunday.
At close, Central were 127 for one in 32 overs at close, with opener Naman Ojha batting on 79 (81b, 8x4, 5x6) and Mohammad Kaif on 41 (103b, 6x4).
Resuming at 292 for eight this morning, Central, who were boosted by a Kaif century on the first day, could sustain just two overs before being all out for the addition of just one run.
As for South Zone, their top-order batsmen, with the exception of Abhinav Mukund who retired hurt due to a wrist injury that he sustained while fielding, paid the penalty for mindless batting.
Bhuvaneswar Kumar and Jalaj Saxena were the pick of the Central bowlers, claiming three wickets each, while TP Sudhindra and Pankaj Singh took a wicket each.
South Zone's Amit Verma and Stuart Binny hit 42 and 56 respectively and put on 55 runs for the fifth wicket in 10.2 overs.
Brief scores: Central Zone 293 and 127/1 (N Ojha batting 79; M Kaif batting 41) vs South Zone 183 (S Binny 56, A Verma 42, B Kumar 3/65, J Saxena 3/23).