The moment Murali Kartik lobbed an Anustup Majumdar delivery towards long on, the elated East Zone support staff could be heard celebrating in the dressing room. Though the final day's play was yet to end, once the catch was taken by Saurabh Tiwary, East players had uprooted the stumps to mark their victory celebrations.
But that could be forgiven as Kartik's wicket on Thursday assured East of a second consecutive Duleep Trophy title. Though weather did not permit an outright result at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, East had managed to defend a mediocre first innings score of 232 by restricting Central to 189. On the basis of the first innings lead, the trophy remained with East, once their batsmen saw off the five overs that remained until the end of play.
For Central, Tanmay Srivastava (94) held one end up but kept losing partners. His gritty innings came to an end when a Saxena delivery spun and bounced to hit the top of the bat and pop into forward short-leg's hands.
The poor state in which trophies for such tournaments are preserved came to the fore soon after the match. When Central posed for the team photograph, the runners-up trophy was brought out hurriedly by an official. To ensure the trophy was a part of the photograph, it was being passed from one player to another when it split. The trophy bottom fell and the players and officials unsuccessfully tried to fix it.
Brief Scores: East Zone 232 & 8 for no loss. Central Zone 189 in 83.5 overs (Tanmay Srivastava 94; Iresh Saxena 5 for 58, Anustup Majumdar 4 for 29).