The fate of the 49th Duleep Trophy final was known in advance and when it would get over was the only point of interest on the final day. It ended 15 minutes before tea on Thursday when Aakash Chopra cut Rangana Herath for four to complete a half-century and signal an eight-wicket win for North Zone.
The commanding performance against Sri Lanka A who they dominated from the first day made North the team to have won this title maximum times -- 16 -- along with West Zone.
It was also their second triumph at Eden Gardens in the two finals they have played here, after the win by virtue of first innings lead against West in 1999-2000.
After losing the plot on the first day when their batting collapsed on a good wicket, the islanders came up with a better performance in the second innings with Malintha Warnapura hitting an unbeaten 149, but their total of 426 set North a target of just 87, which was achieved without any problem.
Warnapura lost overnight partner Chamara Silva in the third over of the day when Joginder Sharma trapped the right-hander in front of the stumps with one that came back sharply. The left-hander, batting at No. 3, delayed the inevitable in the company of tail-enders on way to his 11th first-class century.
This trip to India has been profitable for this nephew of Sri Lanka's first Test captain Bandula Warnapura and the 27-year-old might consider himself unlucky to see Chamara bag a berth ahead of him in the Sri Lanka squads for a tour of New Zealand.
He hit unbeaten hundreds in successive matches, but sources in their contingent informed that the Test and ODI squads had been picked before the start of the final.
Rajesh Sharma was the other star of the day, completing a third five-wicket haul in first-class cricket to go with the four he had taken in the first innings.
The Punjab off-spinner didn't get huge turn but tested the batsmen with his variation including the one that goes the other way without a major change in action. North skipper Mithun Manhas said his team's performance on the first two days made the difference.
Sri Lanka A (1st innings): 296
North Zone (1st innings): 636 for 7 decl
Sri Lanka A (2nd innings): Vandort b Rajesh 37, Udawatte c Rawat b Joginder 28, Warnapura not out 149, Samaraweera b Rajesh 31, Mubarak lbw b Rajesh 36, Silva lbw b Joginder 34, Silva lbw b Nehra 35, Herath c Gagandeep b Nehra 23, Ganegama c Nehra b Rajesh 4, Prasad lbw b Rajesh 17, Amerasinghe c Chopra b Manhas 1. Extras 31 (b-8, lb-11, w-1, nb-11). Total (in 113 overs) 426.
Fall of wickets: 1-71, 2-71, 3-139, 4-229, 5-272, 6-316, 7-346, 8-370, 9-417
Bowling: Nehra 30-6-124-2, Gagandeep 180-4-58-0, Rajesh 43-12-119-5, Joginder 18-2-95-2 (11nb, 1w), Manhas 4-1-11-1.
North Zone (2nd innings): Target: 87 runs: Chopra not out 51, Gambhir c Vandort b Herath 16, Ricky c sub (Mendis) b Mubarak 18, Joginder not out 0;
Extras 2 (nb-2) Total (for 2 wkts in 18.1 overs) 87
Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-83.
Bowling: Ganegama 6-0-24-0, Amerasinghe 2-0-6-0, Herath 7.1-0-42-1 (2nb), Prasad 1-0-12-0, Mubarak 2-0-3-1.