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Mercy! It is getting just too boring

If there was provision for mercy killing in cricket, the Duleep Trophy final could have been a candidate, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 00:51 IST

If there was provision for mercy killing in cricket, the Duleep Trophy final could have been a candidate. A match which got over as a contest midway into the third day, was going on, meandering through the remainder of that day and the fourth, with some cricket still to be played purely for the sake of academic reasons.

As happens in such cases, proceedings were drab and dreary for the most of Wednesday after North Zone declared their first innings closed with a lead of 340 runs. Sri Lanka A came up with an improved performance in the second essay, and at sumps, moved within striking distance of their primary target of avoiding innings defeat.

Resuming on 96, Mahesh Rawat got the four he was looking for on the second ball of the day, pushing Ishara Amarasinghe through the vacant mid-wicket region, and the declaration came soon after that. But if one expected the Sri Lankans to throw their wickets away, considering the small reward for protecting them, which didn’t happen.

The Islanders showed better application this time, though none of the top-order batsmen barring Malintha Warnapura carried on after getting a good start. The left-hander compiled his third successive score of above 60 and remained unbeaten in the company of Chamara Silva to keep alive faint hopes of denying North an outright win.

Given the way the pitch has behaved in this match so far, few expected the North bowlers to seriously trouble the batsmen, but there was one who soldiered on perhaps with a point to prove to the three national selectors sitting by the boundary line. Ashish Nehra bowled a long and lively spell without luck, which at least showed that his fitness couldn’t be questioned.

Having been out of international action with a back injury after the tri-series in Zimbabwe in September last year, Nehra is itching for a comeback.

Sri Lanka A (1st innings): 296

North Zone (1st innings): Chopra lbw Herath 188, Gambhir b Amerasinghe 7, Ricky c Samaraweera b Amerasinghe 122, Manhas lbw b Amerasinghe 29, Yashpal lbw b Mubarak 77, Rawat not out 104, Joginder c LPC Silva b Herath 72, Rana c LPC Silva b Herath 0, Gagandeep Singh not out 2. Extras - b-6, lb-12, w-2, nb-15 - 35. Total (for 7 wkts decl) 636.

Fall of wkts: 1-51, 2-265, 3-323, 4-411, 5-490, 6-616, 7-620.
Bowling: Ganegama 31-6-104-0, Prasad 29-3-116-0, Amerasinghe 38-3-124-3, Herath 66-14-201-3, Mubarak 15-1-34-1, LPC Silva 10-0-29-0, Samaraweera 3-0-10-0.

Sri Lanka A (2nd innings):

Vandort b Rajesh 37, Udawatte c Rawat b Joginder 28, Warnapura batting 82, Samaraweera b Rajesh 31, Mubarak lbw b Rajesh 36, JK Silva batting 26). Extras - b-4, lb-8, w-1, nb-6 - 19. Total (for 4 wkts) 259

Fall of wkts: 1-71, 2-71, 3-139, 4-229.

Bowling: Nehra 25-6-89-0, Gagandeep 12-4-35-0, Rajesh 31-10-81-3, Joginder 8.1-2-42-1.