Ricky Bhui made an unbeaten 103 as Baba Aparajith hit a half-century as South Zone posted a massive first-innings total of 630 for eight before declaring himself on the second day of the Duleep Trophy semifinal against North Zone here on Friday. In response, North reached 24 without a loss on stumps with the talented Yash Dhull on 8 (18 balls, 1 four) and Manan Vohra hit on 11 (12 balls, 1 fours), still 606 runs adrift of South’s huge first innings score .
At Coimbatore, small opener Prithvi Shaw was in roaring form, hammering an unbeaten 96-ball 104 (11 fours, 3 sixes) as West Zone finished at 130 for three in the second innings to extend their lead against Central Zone to 259 runs .
After resuming 324 for two at night, South’s batters continued to pile up the runs. Captain Hanuma Vihari, who batted at 107 overnight, extended his partnership with Indrajith (65, 104 balls, 4 fours) to 105 runs before being ambushed LBW by left arm spinner Mayank Dagar (3 for 184).
Indrajith and Manish Pandey (35) added 57 runs for the fourth wicket before the first became Dagar’s second scalp.
Pandey fell to Dagar at 440, but North’s ordeal wasn’t over when Bhui went on the attack, and with support from K Gowtham (48, 72 balls, 4 fours, 2 sixes) and T Ravi Teja (42.66 balls , 4 four, 1 six), the total of the Southern Zone swelled.
From 440 for five, Bhui and the others added 190 runs before skipper Vihari announced the innings.
On day one, opener Rohan S Kunnummal hit a ton on Duleep Trophy debut to put South Zone in control.
Short scores: South Zone 630 for 8 declared in 172.overs (Rohan Kunnumal 143, Hanuma Vihari 134, Ricky Bhui 103 not out, B Indrajith 65, Mayank Agarwal 49, K Gowtham 48, Mayank Dagar 3 for 184) vs North Zone 24 for no loss in 5 overs. (Toss: South).
West strikes back to bundle Central for 128 after scoring 257. In the other semifinal, West Zone bowlers came to the fore, sending Central Zone for 128 in the first innings, leading 129 runs after being limited to 257.
The attacking Shaw then got West to take control of the proceedings by coming up with a blistering knock. His spectacular attack on the opposition bowlers meant that West had seized the initiative and reached 130 for three at the end.
After a ton in the quarterfinals against a weak team from the northeast, Shaw demonstrated his decisiveness by ripping into the central zone attack. Shaw was practically unstoppable as he seemed to push boundaries at will to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Even as Shaw crushed the bowlers around the park, West lost three wickets, including those of Yashasvi Jaiswal and captain Ajinkya Rahane.
For Shaw’s show, veteran Jaydev Unadkat (3 for 24) did the early damage while spinner Tanush Kotian took three wickets, including Karan Sharma’s, to choke the center line.
Resuming the second day at night 252 to nine, West was able to add just five more runs to the score.
Rahul Tripathi fell to pacer Aniket Choudhary (2 for 48) for 67 to mark the end of the West innings. Left arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya Singh was the most successful bowler, finishing 5 for 66.
Aside from Tripathi’s half-century, opener Prithvi Shaw made 60 (78 balls, 10 fours) and Shams Mulani (41).
The Central Zone innings were shocked early on when Unadkat got Yash Dubey LBW for 4. After a partnership of 28 runs, Himanshu Mantri fell for 11 against Unadkat.
Chintan Gaja (1 for 25) and Atit Sheth (2 for 27) also took wickets at regular intervals as Central slipped to 94 for seven.
Venkatesh Iyer, who played for India in the ODIs and T20s, hit two fours and a six in his short stay before falling to Kotian for 14.
Karan Sharma (34, 64 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes) was the last man to fall, caught by Tripathi at Kotian.
Short scores: West Zone 259 all out in 85.4 overs (Rahul Tripathi 67, Prithvi Shaw 60, Shams Mulani 41, Kumar Kartikeya Singh 5 for 66) and 430 for 3 in 29 overs (Prithvi Shaw 104 batting) vs Central Zone 128 all out in 40.1 overs (Karan Sharma 34, Tanush Kotian 3 for 17, Jaydev Unadkat 3 for 24) (Toss: Central). PTI SS AH AH
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