Kaif, Ojha bail out Central Zone in Duleep Trophy

January 23rd, 2009 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Jan 23 (IANS) Skipper Mohammed Kaif and Naman Ojha came to Central Zone’s rescue and took them to 326 for nine in the first innings on the second day of the Duleep Trophy match against South Zone here Friday.Early strikes from comeback men Lakshmipathy Balaji and S. Sreesanth left the Central Zone struggling at 78 for four but Kaif (73) and Ojha (85) added 127 runs for the fifth wicket to bail out Central Zone from the precarious position. Central is now three short of South’s first innings score of 329.

Resuming at overnight 30 for no loss, Central lost opener Tanmay Srivastava (24) off an unlikely Robin Uthappa in the first hour of the day.

After getting the first breakthrough, South Zone fast bowlers Balaji and Sreesanth bowled an impressive line and length and picked up three wickets in the next twelve overs.

Sreesanth struck first by removing the other opener Shivkant Shukla (26) while Balaji picked up the wicket of Yere Goud (4), who edged an outswinger to wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik. Goud, playing infront of his home crowd, went past a personal milestone — 7,000 runs in first-class cricket, but could not make it big. Sreesanth followed up next with a beautiful delivery that trapped Parvinder Singh (5) leg before the wicket.

Kaif got off the mark with two boundaries in one over and then played a few exquisite shots that also included a six off spinner R. Ashwin. Kaif kept the scoreboard ticking and and his half century came off 63 balls. Ojha on the other end kept on accumulating the runs quietly and brought up his half century in the second session off 99 balls.

Kaif fell before tea while attempting a pull shot off M. Suresh.

Ojha was involved in a significant 60-run stand with Bhuvaneshwar Kumar for the sixth wicket. Ojha was trapped leg before by Sreesanth.

After Kumar departed, Piyush Chawla (35) and Murali Kartik (23 batting) played some strokes and with help from the butter fingered South Zone fielders took the team past the 300-mark. Rahul Dravid dropped Chawla at second slip, while Abhinav Mukund put down a sitter off Karthik at midwicket.

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