Even as a breeze blew across the pretty CAP ground, covered in lush green grass, Virat Singh harnessed the wind in his team’s favour, batting with responsibility and enterprise.
Virat’s 247-ball 117 (12x4, 1x6) and his partnerships along the way held the East Zone innings together against North’s probing attack on day two of the Duleep Trophy 2022 on Friday.
At stumps, North, after dismissing East for 397, was 65 without loss with the talented Yash Dhull so easy on the eye, and so cultured with his strokes, batting on 35 and Manan Vohra, on 20. The pitch, playing good so far, could deteriorate.
Virat will remember the innings for long for it tested his resolve. The left-hander batted with focus and flair. The manner Virat batted, he seemed keen to make an impression in the longer format.
And his 77-run fourth-wicket association with skipper Manoj Tiwary (27 off 101 balls) was significant since both batsmen survived the morning session when the ball was moving around.
Left-arm spinner Nishant Sindhu, foxing Tiwary in flight, had the batsman caught at covers to provide West the breakthrough.Virat continued to fight.
The southpaw is an attractive batsman, whether driving, cutting and pulling the pacemen or coming down the track to whip the spinners, Virat’s reflexes are good and he has bat-speed.
He was looking good for more when he succumbed to the sweep shot off off-spinner Pulkit Narang.
Even as North made some inroads, Shahbaz Ahmed, a lovely upright striker of the ball held centrestage with sweet timing through the gaps for his impressive 62 (140b, 7x4, x6).
There were handy runs - 32 - from M.B. Mura Singh even as seamer Navdeep Saini and left-arm spinner Sindhu picked three wickets each for some consistent bowling. Day three should be the moving day in this duel.
Brief Scores: East Zone 389/8 (Virat Singh 117, Sudip Gharami 68, Shahbaz Ahmed 59 n o, Nishant Sindhu 2/63, Navdeep Saini 2/76) vs North Zone 65/0 - Trails by 332 runs.