Duleep Trophy: West Zone in command against South

February 6th, 2009 - 7:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Feb 6 (IANS) West Zone took a firm grip on the five-day Duleep Trophy final by scoring 459 in their first innings and then reducing South Zone to 106 for four at stumps on the second day at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here Friday.Much of South Zone’s hopes now wrest on skipper Subramaniam Badrinath, who was batting on an aggressive 54 and Dinesh Karthik (5).

The fast wearing pitch could well hold the key on the morrow when South Zone face an uphill task of chasing a huge total.

Earlier, with Ajinkya Rahane scoring 165, West, who began their innings at the overnight total of 303 for five, went on to pile on runs as the lower order chipped in with useful partnerships.

Lending Rahane support were Bhavik Thaker (73) and Kedar Jadhav (47) who guided the latter part of the innings on a pitch that was increasingly offering sharp turn.

In reply, South, who began quite soundly with Robin Uthappa and Murali Vijay batting watchfully, found themselves in quicksands once the spinners were introduced into the attack.

Left-arm spinner Rajesh Pawar and off-spinner Ramesh Powar had the batsmen groping to snap up quick wickets.

Vijay was the first to go, edging Pawar to wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel and then Uthappa, who was looking to settle down, yorked himself as he stepped out to Powar.

Worse was to follow for South as Rahul Dravid, centurion in both their previous matches, departed, driving Pawar without getting to the pitch of the ball and gully fielder Jadhav latched on to a sharp catch.

Powar thus compensated for the one loose over he bowled earlier in the afternoon when Badrinath hit him for three sixes and a boundary.

Badrinath, who had struck double-century in the semi-finals, looked in good touch and batted fluently in tricky conditions where the bounce and turn were unpredictable.

However, the skipper was involved in a mix-up leading to the run out of night watchman M. Suresh who was caught short of the crease after being sent back following a misfield.

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