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North in command

cricket Updated: Oct 08, 2012 23:46 IST
Anand Sachar
Anand Sachar
Hindustan Times
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One ball into the 22nd over, Ishant Sharma asked the second slip fielder to move to deep square leg and the square leg fielder to midwicket. Cheteshwar Pujara was the batsman.

Sharma was aware that the batsman was tentative against the short ball. The field was set but the short ball did not make an appearance. It was a well-planned trap.

After a good length delivery, Sharma got one to dart in sharply. Pujara, anticipating the bouncer, was trapped leg before as he could not move much. Pujara (11) was one of Ishant's four wickets as West Zone were reduced to 40 for four.

With the in-form skipper back in the pavilion, Sharma helped North Zone dismantle West for 164 on the third and penultimate day of the Duleep Trophy quarterfinal at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Monday.

With a solid first innings lead in the bag, North's passage to the semifinal is sealed barring any dramatic late twist. At 30 for no loss at the end of the third day's play and 350 ahead, North look safe to go through.

On a pitch that did not offer much help to pacers, Ishant bent his back to hurry the batsmen into their shots. Having dismissed Ajinkya Rahane (0) first ball late on Sunday evening, Sharma beat Kaustubh Pawar (4) for pace to start the day's proceedings as the opener's tentative push saw the ball roll back onto the stumps.

Surprisingly, the morning session's standout bowler did not bowl for eight overs after lunch. But as soon as Ishant returned, he dismissed Bhushan Chauhan to resume the slide.

Brief scores: North Zone 1st innings 484, West Zone 1st innings 164 (P Patel 51, Chauhan 35; Ishant 4/29, Mishra 3/41), North Zone 2nd innings 30/0 (Dewan 20no).