Runs scored in domestic cricket need to have some meaning and context. On a pitch with a fair amount of grass at Chepauk, every run scored was worth its value.

When rain cut short the day at 2.25 p.m., Central Zone, bravely opting to bat, was on 123 for five against South in the Duleep Trophy semifinal on Thursday. The pacemen held the upper-hand under a cloud-cover — batting demanded technique and application on a surface with some moisture.

Abhimanyu Mithun scalped three and bowled with verve. In an incisive first burst of 5-2-7-2, the seamer nipped one back to castle opener Vineet Saxena.

Soon, Mohammed Kaif was consumed by extra bounce as he played on to one outside off.

Mithun, in his second spell, swung a delivery away from Mukul Dagar (45, 105b, 6x4), to draw the left-hander into a drive and find the nick.

The Karnataka paceman is now running in at an angle. “Previously, I used to come in straight, but tended to jump out.

“Now, I am running in wider, but bowling straighter and with more speed,” Mithun said.

Dagar drove and punched well and was involved in the highest partnership of the day — 56 for the third wicket with Robin Bist in 22.3 overs.

Pragyan Ojha — he is playing this game because the National selectors wanted the left-armer to feature in longer duration matches ahead of the Tests this season — bowled with control.

Ojha does not quite possess the arm-ball, but does get his deliveries to spin away or hold its line. He got a few to turn away from Robin Bist and then trapped the batsman leg-before with a ball that went through straight.

Off-spinner Malolan Rangarajan, a much-improved bowler, was not as parsimonious as Ojha, but did make his presence felt. The mix of pace and length did Naman Ojha in. He attempted to sweep a fuller ball and was adjudged leg-before. The previous delivery was on a length.

The scores:

Central Zone — 1st innings: Mukul Dagar c Gautam b Mithun 45, Vineet Saxena b Mithun 0, Mohd. Kaif b Mithun 6, Robin Bist lbw b Ojha 18, Shalabh Shrivastava (batting) 18, Naman Ojha lbw b Malolan 23, Piyush Chawla (batting) 4; Extras (lb-1, nb-8): 9; Total (for five wkts. in 50.2 overs): 123.

Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-13, 3-69, 4-76, 5-119.

South Zone bowling: Abhimanyu Mithun 10-2-24-3, Sandeep Warrier 11-1-28-0, Manish Pandey 3-0-9-0, Pragyan Ojha 16.2-11-17-1, Malolan Rangarajan 9-2-34-1, Abhinav Mukund 1-0-10-0.

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