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South in the zone, West face an uphill task

india Updated: Feb 04, 2010 23:42 IST

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Dinesh Karthik, it seems, is not amused with his axing from the national squad. And the South Zone skipper is taking out his ire on West Zone in the Duleep Trophy final.

The wicket-keeper batsman struck a scintillating 183 in the first innings to snatch an early initiative, and followed it up with a commanding 150 in the second to swing the match decisively in their favour.

The aggressive knock saw South Zone declare at 386 for 9, and set up an improbable 536-run target for West Zone. West, however, made a good start to what is going to be a long journey over the next two days, finishing the day at 50 for no loss.

West picked up some quick wickets early in the day to keep their hopes alive of restricting South to a manageable total in the second innings. But a 247-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Karthik and C. Gautam poured cold water on their hopes.

Karthik, in particular, was as aggressive as in the first innings. He clobbered the bowlers almost at will, smashing 22 boundaries in his 150-run knock. He brought up his hundred in just 102 balls with the help of 16 boundaries.

Gautam, on the other hand, adopted a more cautious approach and looked set to get a hundred until Ravindra Jadeja had him caught for 88. West could heave a sigh of relief only when Karthik fell to Irfan Pathan for 150. For West Zone, Dhaval Kulkarni emerged as the wrecker-in-chief with a five-wicket haul.