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Dinesh in thick of things

Umesh Yadav was the star for Central Zone against a star-studded South in the Duleep Trophy quarterfinal at the M Chinnaswamy stadium. But a scintillating counterattack by wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik at No 7 restored parity.

cricket Updated: Jan 22, 2009 23:39 IST
G Krishnan

Little-known right-arm medium-pacer from Vidarbha, Umesh Yadav was the star for Central Zone against a star-studded South in the Duleep Trophy quarterfinal at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.

Yadav took five for 76 including the scalps of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman on a two-paced pitch as South Zone, opting to bat first were bowled out for 329. Central replied with 30 for no loss.

The Central medium-pace trio of Pankaj Singh, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Yadav used the new ball to good effect and South lost their first six wickets for only 86, 15 minutes before lunch.

But a scintillating counterattack by wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik at No 7, supported solidly by debutant left-hander M Suresh from Andhra restored parity. Karthik let himself loose and in the 137 minutes that he was at the crease there was never a dull moment.

The Kookaburra ball is a mediumpacers’ delight and it did the talking as Pankaj and Bhuvaneshwar bowled a disciplined line. Left-handed Abhinav Mukund and Robin Uthappa put on 46 before loose shots outside the off resulted in five of the first six wickets falling to catches either to second slip (Murali Kartik), first slip (Md Kaif) or the wicket-keeper (Naman Ojha). Rahul Dravid fell to a bat-pad catch in front of the wicket, giving Yadav his first big wicket.

Yadav impressed the most and caught the attention of K Srikkanth, Surendra Bhave and Narendra Hirwani, the three national selectors present. The 21-year-old from Nagpur was consistently quick, bowling as fast as 141 kmph and averaging in the mid 130s.

The other man of the day, Karthik, dealt mainly in fours and sixes. He was particularly severe on Piyush Chawla, picking him for three successive sixes over long-on with different strokes — slog sweep, pull and lofted drive. Lucky to be dropped at second slip on 39, Karthik went on a rampage.

Karthik added 58 for the seventh wicket with R Ashwin and when the tail was exposed Karthik went berserk. His drives on either side were a delight. The pair added 146 for the eighth wicket in only 100 deliveries. After Karthik’s dismissal for 153 (112b, 24x4, 3x6), skying Bhuvaneshwar to mid-off, Suresh carried on to post his highest first class score.