Spineless batting spells South's doom
G Krishnan (from Ahmedabad)
A SECOND successive poor batting display by South Zone gave North an easy eight-wicket win with a day to spare in the opening round of the Duleep Trophy at the Motera stadium on Monday.
Though South's 211 was 54 runs better than their first innings effort, their specialist batsmen failed once again.
Having wiped out the deficit of 142, South set North a target of 70, which the defending champions achieved for the loss of two wickets.
It was first-class cricket at its worst on a good surface. South succumbed to the disciplined bowling from North, for whom left-spinner Amit Mishra was the most successful with four for 51.
Resuming Day III at 2-95, M. Vijay and S. Badrinath resisted for a little over 30 minutes for an additional 26 runs before the latter was trapped leg before by Vikramjit Malik. Like in the first innings, another procession followed.
It was the last wicket partnership between D. Kalyankrishna and N.C. Aiyappa that delayed the end. The pair added 55 before Aiyappa steered medium-pacer Rajat Bhatia into Aakash Chopra's hands at first slip.
Capable of taking the game into the fourth day, Vijay and Badrinath fell to irresponsible shots. Arjun Yadav was a culprit too, dismissed for nought by Bhatia.
Shuffling their batting order, North sent the left-handed Karan Goel to open with Chopra, who nicked Aiyappa but part-time wicketkeeper Swapnil Asnodkar floored the offering.
Aiyappa finally had his man when he trapped him leg before. After one-down Sachin Rana fell to Kalyankrishna, first innings top scorer Yashpal Singh saw North home, slamming three quick boundaries in an unbeaten 13. Goel remained undefeated on 23.
South next take on East at the Wankhede Stadium from February 3. North's are up against East at Vadodara from February 11.
South Zone 1st innings: 157
North Zone 1st innings: 299
South Zone 2nd innings: R. Teja c Rana b Malik 15, S. Asnodkar c Thakur b Rana 37, M. Vijay c Kaul b Mishra 39, S. Badrinath lbw b Malik 22, A. Yadav c Kaul b Bhatia 0, R. Ashwin c Kaul b Mishra 16, V. Kumar c & b Mishra 6, D Kalyankrishna not out 31, P. Ojha c Manhas b Mishra 6, N. Aiyappa c & b Bhatia 24, T. Naidu retired hurt 0.
Extras (lb-3, w-1, nb-11) 15
Total (all out; 67 overs) 211
Fall of wkts: 1-24, 2-78, 3-121, 4-123, 5-123, 6-143, 7-150, 8-156, 9-211
Bowling: V. Malik 20-4-67-2, A. Thakur 7-2-10-0, R. Bhatia 16-5-39-2, S. Rana 9-0-37-1, A Mishra 14-2-51-4, M. Manhas 1-0-4-0
North Zone 2nd innings (target: 70 runs): A. Chopra lbw b Aiyappa 11, K. Goel not out 23, S. Rana c Yadav b Kalyankrishna 8, Yashpal Singh not out 13.
Extras (b-12, lb-4, w-1) 17
Total (for 2 wkts; 18.3 overs) 72
Fall of wkts: 1-26, 2-47
Bowling: V. Kumar 5-0-12-0, N. Aiyappa 7-4-14-1, D. Kalyankrishna 4.3-0-11-1, P. Ojha 2-0-19-0.
Despite Kaif, it's advantage West
Abhishek Hore (from Rajkot)
GOING THROUGH a purple patch in the domestic circuit this season, Mohammad Kaif gave a timely reminder to the national selectors by scripting yet another innings of great character. But despite the Central Zone skipper's marathon 160, West Zone held the strings at stumps on the third day of their Duleep Trophy encounter here at the Madhav Rao Scindia stadium on Monday.
On a wicket bereft of pace and bounce, an outright win seemed an unlikely proposition from the second day itself, and as it turned the two team were engaged in a battle for points by the third afternoon. Kaif for all his heroics will have to be content with a point, unless ofcourse there is a miracle. A miracle that probably, may never be sighted at all, considering the fact that Sahil Kukreja and Ajinkya Rahane helped West to 99 for no loss in their second innings after gaining a slender 27 run lead in the first.
Resuming at 237 for five with Kaif four short of a century and Mahesh Rawat unbeaten on 40, Central could muster 384, thanks to Kaif's priceless 160, in reply to West's first innings total of 411.
Trailing by 174, Kaif and Rawat began on a cautious note and seemed determined to cross West's challenging total. But a brilliant reflex effort at second slip by Yusuf Pathan brought an end to the Kaif-Rawat stand - Sandeep Jobanputra after an erratic second day opened his account with the wicket of Rawat. The duo's 134-run partnership rescued Central from almost a point of no return, and had Rawat hung on for a little while, it could have turned out to be the decisive partnership of the match.
Apart from his own batting, what stood out during Central's innings was Kaif's ability to string together partnerships with the bottom half of the batting order. All was not lost for Central as long as the rock-like Kaif was at the crease. The innings revolved around him and after Rawat's dismissal the senior pro joined hands with S.S. Sanyal putting together a half-century stand for the seventh wicket. But then again, just like Rawat, Sanyal got out when Central began to harbour hopes of going beyond West's first innings total.
Murali Kartik's cameo down the order did bother West for a brief while but left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhruv ensured that Kartik's effort remained just a cameo.
Even as the batters made hay, Dhruv was the pick of the bowlers accounting for four Central Zone batsmen. Dhruv bowled to a tight line, and his impeccable length meant Central were made to work hard for their runs.
In stark contrast, Central bowlers disappointed. They erred by bowling either full- length deliveries lacking in speed or by pitching it far too short and too straight. Kukreja and Rahane had no problems negotiating the military medium-pace of Sanjay Bangar, S.S. Sanyal and Sumit Mathur. Even the otherwise consistent Murali Kartik rarely looked liked posing any sort of threat to the West Openers.
West Zone 1st innings: 411
Central Zone 1st innings: V. Saxena c PA Patel b MM Patel 2, T. Srivastava c Rahane b Trivedi 12, J. Saxena lbw b Dhurv 46, M. Kaif c Dhurv b Trivedi 160, H. Rawle c PA Patel b M. Patel 3, S. Bangar c P. Patel b Dhurv 26, M. Rawat c Pathan b Jobanputra 48, S. Sanyal st PA Patel b Dhurv 31, M. Kartik lbw b Dhurv 19, S. Mathur not out 10, S. Tyagi b M. Patel 12.
Extras (b-4, lb-3, w-1, nb-7) 15
Total (all out; 126 overs) 384
Fall of wkts: 1-6, 2-49, 3-73, 4-91, 5-134, 6-268, 7-319, 8-357, 9-362
Bowling: M. Patel 29-6-90-3, S. Jobanputra 24-6-69-1, S. Trivedi 27-5-88-2, R. Dhurv 33-12-84-4, R. Powar 12-2-40-0, Y. Pathan 1-0-6-0
West Zone 2nd innings: S. Kukreja batting 40, A. Rahane bating 53.
Extras (b-1, w-1, nb-4) 6
Total (for no loss; 36 overs) 99
Bowling: S. Bangar 11-5-24-0, S. Sanyal 7-0-35-0, M. Kartik 15-5-31-0, S. Mathur 3-0-8-0.