There was just a hint of despair on Aakash Chopra’s face on his long trek back to the pavilion. He perhaps knew that with his wicket North Zone had surrendered the chance to challenge South’s mammoth total of 548 in their Duleep Trophy semifinal.
On a wicket that stayed true throughout, North’s task was to occupy the crease. Rahul Dewan (81) and Shikhar Dhawan (37) began with purpose. The left and right combination worked the ball well to keep the runs coming.
Shikhar, looking set for a big one, forced Badrinath to spread his field out with a few lusty hits. The shots also necessitated the introduction of off spinner R Ashwin. Ashwin answered almost immediately, and had Dhawan caught by Abhinav Mukund at silly point.
Chopra (17) walked in after tea hoping to tilt the tempo back in his team’s favour, but South had already tasted blood.
The match became interesting as Dewan took the onus to keep the scorecard ticking, but in his attempts of sneaking quick runs, ran himself out.
Chopra was crestfallen at his partner's fall, but the frown grew wider when he too was dismissed in the next over. He missed the length of M. Suresh's spin and Dinesh Karthik was quick to rattle the stumps.