Central Zone served up a fine riposte before rain piled more misery on East Zone on Day 2 of their Duleep Trophy quarterfinal at the Alur (I) Cricket Ground in Bengaluru on Thursday.
Bowling with just a 150-run lead at the start of play, Central stunned the opposition batters and folded them for 122 in their first essay. Shivam Mavi’s men picked up eight wickets within the opening session to gain a healthy 60-run advantage. After a day-and-a-half of poor application from the batters, Central openers Himanshu Mantri (25 batting) and Vivek Singh (34 batting) made amends to play out a session while heavy rain stopped play before Tea. A downpour then forced early stumps as Central held fort on 64 for no loss.
The gritty opening stand found its share of fortune when Mantri was bowled off a no-ball on five by Ishan Porel. The pair then mixed caution with occasional strands of aggression to keep East guessing.
Earlier, during an opening hour baked in sunshine, overnight batters Sudip Gharami and Shahbaz Nadeem began firmly from 32 for two before Central turned to spin. Left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar dismissed Gharami in his first over, a quick slider hitting the pads for a leg-before. Saurabh was complemented by seamer Yash Thakur, who also picked up Anustup Majumdar with his first ball of the morning.
Saurabh’s nagging lines soon broke the back of the middle-order as he dismissed Nadeem and Kumar Kushagra in successive overs, overpowering brittle defences with the arm ball. No. 6 Riyan Parag got about rebuilding the innings with a four off Thakur and a maximum over long-on against Saurabh. However, Avesh Khan added to last evening’s tally by cleaning up Shahbaz Ahmed.
While Parag took a backseat, Manisankar Murasingh built on the confidence of his first-innings five-for with the bat. The pair carried East past 100 with a 40-run stand for the eighth wicket before Parag’s mistimed flick off Mavi landed in the hands of the mid-off fielder. As grey skies began to roll in thickly, captain Mavi sealed East’s fate with the penultimate wicket and a run out off his bowling before Lunch.
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