After racing to 98 with a huge six, Unmukt Chand had to wait nearly 40 minutes and six overs to get the two runs that mattered.
His turn never seemed to come and when it came, a little after tea, the 20-year-old Delhi batsman hit a boundary and raised his hands in relief and in celebration.
But Unmukt’s partner Ian Dev Singh, who had made some big shots and scored at a fast pace after lunch, suffered cramps and was forced to retire hurt at 95.
The two helped North to 329 for two on the second day of the Duleep Trophy cricket semifinal against East at the Nehru Stadium here on Friday.
“I didn’t get strike for quite some time during that period,” said Unmukt.
“It’s a game of patience, so it’s all right. Sometimes, you get stuck on a score and it takes a long time to get over it. But I was focused, so I didn’t have any problem.”
After just an hour’s play on the opening day, the second day began on time.
But openers Unmukt and Jiwanjot Singh played very defensively at the start, scoring just 17 runs in the morning’s first 10 overs.
“The ball was swinging, the fielders were charged up so I think you need to give that session to the bowlers,” explained Unmukt.
“And this is a four-day match, there’s not much pressure to score runs early.”
Jiwanjot perished a little after that, and in came Ian Dev Singh. However, things were quiet for the next ten overs too.
The match came to life when Ian Dev danced down the wicket and hit the East captain and left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem for a straight six in the 37th over.
Four overs later, Unmukt belted Shahbaz for four boundaries and the runs began to flow. North’s first hundred came in the 46th over and the next in the 72nd over.
Unmukt hit Sunny Gupta for a four towards point for his century — his third in first class cricket.
He made 116 (230 balls, 17x4, 1x6) and fell attempting to lift Nadeem only to offer an easy catch to Sunny Gupta at mid-off. Two overs before that Ian Dev had returned to the pavilion after suffering cramps.
That brought in Mandeep Singh (40 off 79 balls, 6x4) and Rajat Paliwal (41 off 94 balls, 3x4, 1x6) in quick succession and the scoreboard chugged on fast after that.
North Zone — 1st innings: Jiwanjot Singh c Samantray b Dinda 24, Unmukt Chand c Gupta b Nadeem 116, Ian Dev Singh (retired hurt) 95, Mandeep Singh (batting) 40, Rajat Paliwal (batting) 41, Extras (b-3, lb-4, nb-6) 13; Total (for two wkts. in 112 overs): 329.
Fall of wickets: Fall of wickets: 1-50, 2-248.
East Zone bowling: Ashoke Dinda 27-8-77-1, Basant Mohanty 28-5-65-0, Biplab Samantray 11-5-21-0, Shahbaz Nadeem 29-9-88-1, Sunny Gupta 15-4-47-0, Anustup Majumdar 2-0-24-0.