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Twin centuries blunt a hapless North attack

East Zone's Anushtup Majumdar (144) and Manish Vardhan (125) punished an unimaginative North bowling to ensure there were no last-day hiccups as East coasted to the first Duleep Trophy final in six years.

cricket Updated: Feb 07, 2012 23:06 IST
Khurram Habib

Runs and tons come easy on the final day of a match whose outcome is more or less decided on the basis of first innings lead. It's partly because of the drooping shoulders of the fielding side, which has lost all hope of a comeback.

Since there is not enough time in a four-day game and the purchase from batting tracks to come back in the second innings, the interest of bowling sides often wanes.

Such was the case on Tuesday, the last day of this Duleep Trophy semifinal that had almost been decided on the third day. East Zone's Anushtup Majumdar (144) and Manish Vardhan (125) punished an unimaginative North bowling to ensure there were no last-day hiccups as East coasted to the first Duleep Trophy final in six years.

Quite a few such tons have been scored this first-class season. Also, results on the basis of first-innings lead have been 50% more than outright wins. Eight of the 55 draws, including this one, have seen teams lose points by less than 50 runs, having no chance of a comeback despite being almost equal (see box).

It begs two questions - should there be one more day of play or more result-oriented wickets?

Great effort
The figures shouldn't belittle the efforts of both Majumdar and Vardhan who saw off the dicey morning session that had troubled batsmen on the previous two days.

Both the batsmen exposed chinks in North's bowling department, which lacked bite throughout. The two big guns of North Zone, Punjab and Delhi, have been struggling with injuries to their top bowlers.

Till lunch, the two overnight batsmen stayed put on the crease, playing their shots well and freely as North kept providing them loose balls. They added 158 runs in the first session that also saw North bowl well over 40 overs. East declared at 319/5 and set North a target of 348, which in close to 30 overs was an impossible task.

Brief scores: East Zone 315 and 319/5 (A Majumdar 144, M Vardhan 125, P Sangwan 3/78) vs North Zone 287 & 126/3 (R Dewan 45, S Dhawan 38)