A drab inconsequential final day’s play looms

It looked all too simple for North Zone: turn up, unleash a blustering Ishant Sharma (four for 29) and knock the stuffing out of West Zone on the third day of the Duleep Trophy quarterfinal match here on Monday. Only Parthiv Patel (51, 106b, 8x4) gritted it out to bolster the score.

After bowling out West for 164, North didn’t enforce the follow-on. In the second innings, North ended the day on 30 for no loss with an overall lead of 350. The drudgery of an inconsequential final day’s play looms large as with such a huge first-innings lead, North is all but through to the semifinals.

For West, disaster struck very early. With a blow in the second over of the day, it was reduced to six for two. Opener Kaustubh Pawar’s hesitant forward push to Ishant resulted in the ball flirting with the bat and rolling on to the stumps.

North’s pace troika — Ishant, Parvinder Awana, and Rishi Dhawan — demonstrated the indubitable virtues of raw pace. All the three bullied the batsmen with speed and healthy bounce.

Rishi shot down Murtuja Vahora’s stumps but it was Ishant who led the raid with viciousness; he prised out a wicket in each of his three spells (twice in the first over of a new spell).

His chief weapon was the delivery that slanted in and skidded off the turf. Ishant’s tussle with West skipper Cheteshwar Pujara, however brief it was, made for good viewing.

West’s sole act of defiance came through the 72-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Parthiv and Bhushan Chauhan (35, 4x4).The scores: North Zone — 1st innings: 484.

West Zone — 1st innings: Kaustubh Pawar b Ishant 4, Ajinkya Rahane c Saini b Ishant 0, Murtuja Vahora b Rishi Dhawan 8, Bhushan Chauhan lbw b Ishant 35, Cheteshwar Pujara lbw b Ishant 11, Parthiv Patel c Dewan b Rishi Dhawan 51, Abhishek Nayar c Dogra b Amit Mishra 4, Kedar Jadhav st. Saini b Amit Mishra 11, Kamlesh Makwana (not out) 9, Harmeet Singh c Dogra b Amit Mishra 0, Samad Fallah c Shikhar Dhawan b Vikas Mishra 7; Extras (b-2, lb-2, nb-20): 24; Total (in 70.4 overs): 164 .

Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Rahane), 2-6 (Pawar), 3-27 (Vahora), 4-40 (Pujara), 5-112 (Chauhan), 6-128 (Parthiv), 7-140 (Nayar), 8-152 (Jadhav), 9-154 (Harmeet).

North Zone bowling: Ishant Sharma 17-6-29-4, Parvinder Awana 11-3-25-0, Rishi Dhawan 13-1-41-2, Vikas Mishra 12.4-2-24-1, Amit Mishra 17-4-41-3.

North Zone — 2nd innings: Rahul Dewan (batting) 20, Shikhar Dhawan (batting) 8; Extras (lb-2): 2; Total (for no loss in 14 overs): 30.

West Zone bowling: Samad Fallah 5-1-8-0, Murtuja Vahora 4-1-15-0, Abhishek Nayar 3-1-3-0, Kamlesh Makwana 2-0-2-0.

Keywords: Duleep Trophy

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