Despite the rain keeping away the whole day, just a little more than an hour’s play was possible in the Duleep Trophy semifinal between North Zone and defending champion East at the Nehru Stadium here on Thursday.

North, which won the toss, scored 33 for no loss in the 17 overs possible after the four-day match began at 4.20 p.m.

Overnight rain had left the outfield wet and after a few hours of hard toil by the KCA curator P.V. Ramachandran and his team, the ground appeared to be ready for action after lunch.

But with one side of the run-up wet, the umpires decided to play it safe and after four inspections, gave the green signal only in the evening.

“We should have played at least at 2 p.m.,” said T.C. Mathew, the Kerala Cricket Association President, clearly unhappy. “We had played an ODI in 2007 on the same ground when it was in a much worse condition.”

Saha out

Meanwhile, the East captain Wriddhiman Saha, who had injured his left hand during training on Wednesday evening, was forced to pull out of the game.

He was replaced by S.P. Gautham in the side while Shahbaz Nadeem was made the team’s new captain.

The scores:

North Zone – 1st innings: Jiwanjot Singh (batting) 18, Unmukt Chand (batting) 12; Extras (lb-2, nb-1): 3; Total (for no loss in 17 overs): 33.

East bowling: Ashoke Dinda 7-3-13-0, Basant Mohanty 6-1-18-0, Biplab Samantray 1-1-0-0, Shahbaz Nadeem 2-2-0-0, Sunny Gupta 1-1-0-0.

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