An aggressive Ashoke Dinda shut out South Zone as holder East Zone made it its second successive entry into the final of Duleep trophy, by virtue of its 23-run first-innings lead.
Dinda accounted for seven of eight wickets that fell as South chased a victory target of 239.
South, which entertained genuine hopes of scoring an outright win going into the final day of the semifinal at the ACA-VDCA stadium here on Wednesday, first saw Biplab Samantray (52, 6x4, 134b, 177m) and Basant Mohanty (35, 5x4, 111b, 156m), prolonging the overnight seventh-wicket stand and denying it the early breakthrough.
When East ended its second innings on 215, the target looked gettable for South.
But Dinda, opening the attack, made one to forget the docile nature of the pitch. He first got the ball to brush Abhinav Mukund’s off stump while R. Prasanna perished to a low ball. Then, Robin Uthappa’s drive was held at mid-on and Manish Pandey’s middle stump was sent cart-wheeling.
Dinda went on to send back Amit Verma, Stuart Binny and R. Vinay Kumar, thus burying South Zone. Basant Mohanty got the only wicket that didn’t go to Dinda, that of Abhimanyu Mithun.
After that, C.M. Gautam and K.P. Appanna hung in grimly to ensure that South went past the lowest score in Duleep Trophy — 48 by North in 1961 at Chennai and by East in Kolkota in 1969, both incidentally against South.
The innings finally ended at 85 for eight.
Fittingly, Dinda and Samantray shared the man-of-the-match award.
Dinda later said he stuck to the basics and focussed on keeping it tight and tough to score.
“The first hour is crucial on a flat wicket. Had we lost some wickets then we would have been in some trouble,” Samantray said.
“Dinda bowled his heart out”.
South Zone coach Madhavan described Dinda’s bowling as a phenomenal effort on a fourth day afternoon.
“It was not a tall target… (but, we) had no answer to Dinda,” said Madhavan.
East Zone — 1st innings: 267
South Zone — 1st innings: 244
East Zone — 2nd innings: Manish Vardhan b Vinay Kumar 0, Dhiraj Jadhva lbw b Amit Verma 21, Nataraj Behra lbw b Stuart Binny 60, Anustup Mazumdar st. C.M. Gautam b Aushik Srinivas 22, Saurabh Tiwary c Manish Pandey b Binny 0, Biplab Samantray c (sub) Shri Vasudeva Das b Binny 52, S.P. Gautam c Pandey b Abhimanyu Mithun 4, Basant Mohanty c Mukund b Vinay Kumar 35, Ashoke Dinda (not out) 8, Iresh Saxena lbw b K.P. Appanna 0, Samar Quaddri c Gauram b Vinay Kumar 1, Extras (b-5, lb-5, nb-2) 12; Total (in 90.3 overs) 215.
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-65, 3-98, 4-98, 5-110, 6-121, 7-189, 8-201, 9-208.
South Zone bowling: Vinay 9.3-6-10-3, Mithun 10-1-29-1, Binny 14-4-31-3, Appanna 17-2-48-1, Prasanna 1-0-4-0, Aushik Srinivas 25-6-56-1, Amit Verma 10-4-17-1, Mukund 1-0-2-0, Manish Pandey 3-0-8-0.
South Zone — 2nd innings: A. Mukund b Ashoke Dinda 2, Robin Uthappa c Nataraj Behra b Dinda 5, R. Prasanna b Dinda 0, M. Pandey b Dinda 8, Amit Verma c S.P. Gautam b Dinda 7, Stuart Binny c Dhiraj Jadhav b Dinda 7, C.M. Gautam (not out) 18, Vinay Kumar c Gautam b Dinda 0, A. Mithun lbw b Biplab Mohanty, Appanna (not out) 24, Extras (b-8, nb-6) 14; Total (for eight wickets in 36 overs) 85.
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-2, 3-13, 4-16, 5-34, 6-40, 7-40, 8-42.
East Zone bowling: Ashok Dinda 15-7-26-7, Basant Mohanty 13-5-30-1, Biplab Samantray 3-2-1-0, Iresh Saxena 4-1-16-0, Samar Quadri 1-0-4-0.
Keywords: Duleep trophy