Robin Bisht saved the day for Central Zone © Getty Images ( Representational Photo)
Robin Bisht saved the day for Central Zone © Getty Images ( Representational Photo)

Oct 29, 2014

Central Zone trotted to a score of 237 for 7 at the end of the first day’s play in the final match of the Duleep Trophy played against South Zone at Feroz Shah Kotla on Wednesday. The play was abandoned early in the 87th over due to bad light.

Piyush Chawla, captain of the Central Zone immediately opted to bat first after winning the toss. Faiz Fazal and Jalaj Saxena came out to open the batting for Central Zone. The start was slow and Central only managed to reach 9 runs after the first 10 overs. The Kotla pitch had patches of grass which helped the seam bowlers in the early overs but Central Zone batsmen did well not to lose any wicket.

The centurion from the last match, Jalaj Saxena was the first batsman to be dismissed. He had already survived 42 deliveries to score two runs but poked at the outswinging delivery from Vinay Kumar and walked back to the pavilion.

Robin Bisht and Fazal carried on from there and took the team to 75 for 1 at lunch. The carnage started after the lunch as Fazal who was closing in on his half-century was dismissed by Baba Aparjith. Fazal tried to cut a short delivery but ball went straight to the point fielder. Naman Ojha, the double-centurion from last match also walked back in the same over. Ojha opened his account with a solid boundary but was dismissed on the next delivery as he pushed too hard at flighted delivery and handed a catch to mid-off fielder.

Central Zone now reached a scratchy situation as they were stuck at 94 for 3 after 39 overs. Ashok Menaria and Robin Bisht came together to spring in a decent partnership of 68 runs for the fourth wicket. Menaria was attacking in his approach he smashed Abhimanyu Mithun for three boundaries in the 56th over. The next over from Shreyas Gopal also went for two boundaries, but this time it was Bisht who took the attack.

Menaria who was looking solid fell to loose delivery from Hanuma Vihari. Vihari just sprayed it full on the leg side and Menaria leaned forward to flick but lost his balance resulting in the stumping. Next wicket followed in quick succession as wicketkeeper Mahesh Rawat was caught behind on a sharp leg spinner from Gopal.

Bisht, who was looking to reach his century departed in a very unusual manner. Pragyan Ojha sprayed a good length delivery on the pads and Bisht closed the face of the bat too early resulting in a straight forward catch to Abhimanyu Mithun at short mid-wicket.

Two new batsmen Arindam Ghosh and the captain Piyush Chawla started the repair work. Ghosh was dropped by Robin Uthappa in the 71st over and he took good advantage of it as he powered the flow of runs. Chawla and Ghosh added 52 runs before Chawla was dismissed by HS Sharath.

Brief scores:

Central Zone 237 for 7 ( Robin Bisht 79,Faiz Fazal 49, Ashok Menaria 37; Baba Aparjith 2 for 21) vs South Zone.

(Varun Arora is a reporter with CricketCountry. He started as a medium-fast bowler, converted to an opening batsman but finally settled with his passion of writing about the game. His Twitter handle is @varunjgd)