West Zone batters build on the good work done by its bowlers on the second day against Central Zone as the defending champion took control of the Duleep Trophy semifinal at the Alur (I) Cricket Ground in Bengaluru on Thursday.
West batters were considerably more aggressive in the second stint, with Suryakumar Yadav and Cheteshwar Pujara scoring half-centuries as they helped their side to a 241-run lead.
On the bowling front, Arzan Nagwaswalla led the line for West with a five-wicket haul as Central was bundled out for 128. Dhruv Jurel and Rinku Singh were the only Central batters who looked comfortable on a surface that offered uneven bounce.
After earning a 92-run first-innings lead, West began like a house on fire, with opener Prithvi Shaw lighting the match. He crunched boundaries for fun, including two with nonchalant uppercuts.
Follow Live:Duleep Trophy 2023 Semifinals Day 3 Blog
But Central struck back by removing Shaw and his opening partner Priyank Panchal in quick succession. The former was bowled by Yash Thakur with an inswinger, while the latter had his off stump knocked back after being deceived by a flighted delivery from Saurabh Kumar.
Pujara and Suryakumar eased their way into the game, with the duo freeing their arms to gather some breathtaking boundaries. Even the usually restrained Pujara played his shots, including a masterful cut shot off Yash Thakur which sizzled to the fence.
The duo, who put on a 95-run stand, had their momentum briefly halted by a passing shower. But Suryakumar shrugged off the interruption by carting Avesh Khan for a six over fine leg. The Mumbai batter raced to his fifty with some slick shots before falling to the wily left-arm spin of Saurabh.
Pujara and Sarfaraz Khan saw out the rest of the day untroubled, with the Saurashtra batter getting to his fifty in the last over of the day.
Earlier in the morning, Central skipper Shivam Mavi began at full throttle as he wound up West’s first innings within the third over of the day, completing his six-wicket haul with the scalps of Nagwaswalla and Yuvraj Dodiya.
Unfortunately for the Central side, that was the last phase of play where it felt in control of the game, which soon drifted into West’s corner.
Nagwaswalla began Central’s slide in the first over as he swung the ball inside Vivek Singh’s attempted drive to rearrange his stumps.
In the next over, Chintan Gaja removed the other Central opener, Himanshu Mantri, with one that held its line and caught the left-hander in front of the stumps. The right-arm pacer would add the wicket of Amandeep Khare to put his side further ahead in the game.
Meanwhile, Jurel, who came in at No. 3, batted fluently, cracking some silky boundaries. He was particularly harsh against Nagwaswalla, scoring five of his seven boundaries against the left-arm pacer, including three consecutive ones in the ninth over.
But, Nagwaswalla had his revenge as he trapped Jurel in front just when the right-handed batter threatened to take the game away from West.
All-rounder Atit Sheth, who top-scored for West in the first innings, ran through the lower order with three quick-fire wickets.
Rinku kept the fight going for his side with a composed knock but was the last man to fall after trying to accelerate the innings with some big hits. His attempted slog off Nagwaswalla didn’t clear Prithvi Shaw at deep midwicket, helping the Gujarat pacer get to his fifer.
- IND vs NZ Highlights, ICC World Cup 2023 Semifinal: Kohli, Shreyas hundreds, Shami 7/57 help India to 70-run win vs New Zealand
- ODI World Cup 2023: Stop talking about pitch change, it was for both teams, says Gavaskar after India vs New Zealand semifinal
- FIFA 2026 World Cup AFC qualifiers all you need to know: When, where to watch India vs Kuwait; full schedule
- Babar Azam steps down as Pakistan captain in all three formats
- Best ODI bowling figures for India: Shami goes top with 7/57 vs NZ, overtakes Binny