SPORT

South Zone through to the final with comprehensive win

CAPTAIN’S DELIGHT: M. Suresh and L. Balaji, who shared six wickets between them, celebrate a strike as South skipper S. Badrinath (centre) looks on.

CAPTAIN’S DELIGHT: M. Suresh and L. Balaji, who shared six wickets between them, celebrate a strike as South skipper S. Badrinath (centre) looks on.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: S. Subramanium

Nandakumar Marar



North folded up for 156 in the second innings

Badrinath played a dominant role in South’s win



RAJKOT: South Zone’s L. Balaji and M. Suresh reaped three wickets each on a bowler’s day out in the Duleep Trophy semifinal against North Zone on Sunday.

After the first three days of toil on a Rajkot track designed for batsmen to revel in front-foot play, the pace and spin spearheads reduced North Zone to 156 for eight in 42.3 overs.

Virat Kohli and Rajat Bhatia did not bat in the second innings, resulting in a 411-run victory for the S. Badrinath-led squad. South declared on the overnight total of 319 for three, the overall lead being a daunting 567.

North was in no frame of mind to chase down the target, without the attacking Kohli and gritty Bhatia in the batting line-up.

Delaying the inevitable

Shikhar Dhawan’s 61 off 100 balls delayed the defeat till the post-lunch session. Amit Mishra struck 46 in a lost cause against a rival adept at playing the waiting game.

Balaji made the most of early morning moisture in the wicket striking an early blow by dismissing opener Rahul Diwan.

M.S. Gony and Vikramjit Malik were his other victims, the former caught by Rahul Dravid at full stretch in the slips, while the latter mishit a slower delivery back to the bowler.

Suresh came up with his second three-wicket haul in three days, nailing Dhawan, Aakash Chopra and Mishra.

Badrinath had put North on the backfoot from day one, first by winning the toss and then rattling up 312 in the company of Dravid (138) for the third wicket. The South captain, standing in for V.V.S. Laxman, top-scored with 200 in the first innings and played a dominant part in the team’s win.

Meanwhile, Laxman, M. Vijay and S. Sreesanth are expected to be available for the final.

The scores: South Zone —1st innings: 548.

North Zone — 1st innings: 300.

South Zone — 2nd innings: 319 for three decl.

North Zone — 2nd innings: R. Diwan c sub (A. Pai) b Balaji 0, S. Dhawan c & b Suresh 61, A. Chopra c Karthik b Suresh 27, S. Sohal (run out) 0, U. Kaul lbw b Ashwin 1, A. Mishra c sub (R. Prem) b Suresh 46, M. Gony c Dravid b Balaji 1, V. Malik c & b Balaji 4, P. Awana (not out) 4, V. Kohli and R. Bhatia did not bat; Extras (lb-9, nb-3) 12. Total (in 42.3 overs): 156.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-70, 3-70, 4-72, 5-122, 6-129, 7-128, 8-156.

South Zone bowling: Balaji 10-5-20-3, Vinay Kumar 6-2-22-0, Ashwin 13-2-49-1, Bandekar 0.5-0-4-0, Badrinath 1.1-0-4-0, Suresh 11.3-1-48-3.

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