Rahane century guides West Zone to 303/5 against South

February 5th, 2009 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Jan 5 (IANS) Ajinkya Rahane notched his eighth first class century and steered West Zone to 303 for five at stumps on the first day of the five-day Duleep Trophy final against South Zone at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here Thursday.Rahane continued his fine run in the season and scored an unbeaten 109 with 14 fours and one six.

South, whose bowlers toiled for a little reward on an unresponsive pitch that only occasionally afforded some turn and bounce, did well to strike back late in the day with the second new ball with Sreesanth dismissing Bhavik Thaker (69) and Abhishek Nayar (0).

After electing to bat, West scored at a good clip. With the score on 55, Parthiv Patel departed after being adjudged leg-before to off-spinner Ashwin.

However, Waseem Jaffer looked in good touch in making 69 before shouldering arms to an arm-ball from left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati to be bowled, having added 77 runs for the second wicket with Rahane.

Thereafter, Rahane, who topped the 1,000-run mark in the just-concluded Ranji Trophy season for Mumbai, took charge and put on 31 runs for the second with Cheteshwar Pujara (14) who looked far from convincing and was trapped in front by Ashwin.

Rahane, in the company of Bhavik Thaker, then consolidated the team’s position with a 136-run stand for the fourth wicket.

As the two settled down, they grew in confidence and handled the South attack with fair bit of confidence and competence.

Rahane, in particular, used his feet well to the spinners to play some well-timed shots on either side of the wicket. Only 20 years old, Rahane showcased his cricketing maturity by keeping his composure in trying conditions during the afternoon.

At the other end, Thaker (73) opened his shoulders in the latter part of the innings and looked good for a long innings when disaster struck for West.

In the very first over with the second new ball, Sreesanth staged a remarkable comeback to have Thaker snick to Rahul Dravid in the slips after being hit for two boundaries besides sending down two no-balls.

Two overs later, Sreesanth struck again when he had Abhishek Nayar ducking under a bouncer, but the ball took the edge of the raised bat and wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik took an easy catch.

Earlier in the day, South had the misfortune of seeing their new ball bowler Vinay Kumar leaving the field after suffering back spasm midway through his seventh over and under the circumstances, skipper S. Badrinath’s decision to opt for five bowlers in the eleven stood vindicated.

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