West Zone took a giant step towards regaining the Duleep Trophy after dismissing South for a paltry first innings score.
Defending 459, West didn’t take more than a session on the third day to wipe out the remaining South batsmen for an additional 93 runs. Resuming at 106 for four, South were bowled out for 199, giving West a 260-run first innings lead.
Wasim Jaffer had the choice to enforce follow on, but he chose to bat again, making the game only of academic interest. At stumps, West finished at 232 for four, their overall lead swelling to 492.
Only captain Subramaniam Badrinath stood amidst the ruins, remaining unbeaten on a 100, reaching his 19th first class hundred off the penultimate delivery of the innings. Badrinath was unfortunate in not having anyone for support and making a fight. As West continued to make merry, his knock was overshadowed by Ajinkya Rahane’s handsome 98, the West number three missing the chance in becoming the second batsman after Lalchand Rajput (105 and 109, West vs South in 1986-87) to score 2 hundreds in a Duleep Trophy final.
Barring Badrinath, South’s batting was pathetic. Adding to South’s woes were two wrong calls from the SA umpire Marais Erasmus.
South’s Dinesh Karthik survived two reprieves in four deliveries, short mid-wicket fielder Kedar Jadhav getting one hand to a flick off Dhawal Kulkarni. Two balls later, he drove Rajesh Pawar back to the bowler, the left-arm spinner getting both the hands diving across the pitch but unable to latch on to it. Instead of bolstering the batting in Badrinath’s company, Karthik perished to Siddarth Trivedi’s outswing, nicking to Jaffer.
Arjun Yadav was caught at short leg off Powar, though TV cameras caught the bowler overstepping. Erasmus, who otherwise had a decent run, missed it. Later, he adjudged Ashwin caught at silly-point when it seemed that the ball rebounded off the pad.
Jaffer was unlucky to have been ruled leg before to Sreesanth with the ball appearing to be slipping down leg. However, West went on and on, on a pitch that was not getting any better for batting.