Duleep Trophy, semi-finals, 1st day October 14, 2012

Yuvraj hits ton on first-class return

ESPNcricinfo staff

North Zone 346 for 4 (Yuvraj 133*, Dhawan 121) v Central Zone

In his first first-class innings since being treated for cancer, Yuvraj Singh smashed an unbeaten 133 as he set about showing he still had the fitness to play the long form of the game. His century and a 121 from opener Shikhar Dhawan pushed North Zone to a strong 346 for 4 against Central Zone in Hyderabad.

On the eve of the match he had been unsure whether he could handle the rigour of the first-class game. "This is my first duration game (after the illness), so I don't know how my body will behave," Yuvraj had said. "I know my body will get tired, but I need to get through the four days."

Yuvraj hasn't played a first-class match since the Kolkata Test against West Indies last November. While recovering from cancer, he had said he initially wanted to play T20 cricket, before testing himself in one-dayers and first-class matches as they were tougher on his body. His comeback began with the T20s against New Zealand last month, before he played the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

Yuvraj's performance overshadowed Dhawan, who hit his sixth successive 50-plus score - including three centuries. The pair scored at a T20 rate, putting on 160 for the third wicket in 122 deliveries against an attack that included the experienced left-arm spinner Murali Kartik and India medium-pacer Praveen Kumar.

After a sedate start, seamer Rituraj Singh dismissed opener Rahul Dewan for 17, but wicketkeeper Nitin Saini stuck with Dhawan for a stand of 75. After Saini was dismissed in the 53rd over, Yuvraj arrived to boost the scoring rate. At tea, the pair had put on 111 runs off 62 deliveries. The partnership ended when Dhawan was caught and bowled by Kartik in the 73rd over. Mandeep Singh was dismissed soon after but Dogra stuck with Yuvraj for 16.2 overs to prevent any further damage till stumps.

Yuvraj, who played only 152 deliveries for his unbeaten knock, smashed 20 fours and two sixes, both over deep mid-wicket and off Kartik. The second six brought up his century.

Kartik was happy for Yuvraj after the match. He tweeted: "Fabulous knock by [Yuvraj] so happy to see him in such imperious form..:hope all the detractors are happy now."

East Zone 187 for 6 (Saurabh Tiwary 84*, Basant Mohanty 51*) v South Zone

At Visakhapatnam, East Zone had a completely different start to their semi-final, collapsing to 66 for 6 against South Zone before Saurabh Tiwary and Basant Mohanty put on an unbroken 121-run stand to prevent more embarrassment.

After a delay of 45 minutes due to rain, South Zone took charge grabbing their first wicket in the third over. Within the 13th over, East Zone had lost their first four batsmen for 21. Tiwary, playing his first major match since the IPL, then resisted for 67.2 overs, and kept the attack at bay with the help of No. 8 Mohanty. No other East Zone batsman made more than 11 runs.

Seamers Abhimanyu Mithun and Stuart Binny took two wickets apiece. Binny took both his wickets in one over when East Zone captain Nataraj Behera and Anustup Majumdar were both dismissed in the 13th over.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    Exit queue: Tendulkar, Sehwag, Zaheer, Gambhir, (Bhajji & Piyush... if they are still under reckoning) Vinay Kr, Dinda, Rohit(?).... No, let me not add question mark. Then, the list will be too long... may also include the incumbent WK(?)! Nice to see Raina, Tiwari, Yuvi, Irfan et al hitting some form. Chand, pl don't copy Viru's recklessness; otherwise you have a chance to get in, though a bit prematurely. By the way, Irfan seems to be the ideal replacement for Zaheer. And, Ashwin... can you pl get rid of two things? One: a mandatory bad ball -- usually a long hop--in EVERY over along with five good ones. And, Two: a little bit of 'baby' fat!

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    Can BCCI please order Murali Karthik (MK) to get rid of 10 years from his age of 36 plus to 26 plus? They can do almost anything, no? Ordering MK should be easier than trying a hoopla, for the corpulent (or is it corporate -- my English is quite lousy) Board President and/or the still trim brand new Chief Selector! MK still seems to be India's best left arm spinner. But 36 plus is an issue for building a team for the future (except for some one who says --" I'll decide... no one else can...'". Just joking. With Ashwin, Yuvi and a few batsmen who can roll their arm over for a few overs of fairly effective spin...., sorry MK, we don't need you. Just enjoy yourself in county criicket. As long as they don't bring back Bhajji or Piyush, as the last bunch of selectors, jocularly -- to prove jimmy Amranath's description of them right -- did!

  • Al on October 15, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    Whether the selectors pick Rahane, Dhawan, Mandeep, or Yuvraj, we all agree that it's time to get rid of non-performers like Gambhir, Sehwag, and 10dulkar from the Indian team. Srikanth didn't have the guts to do so, maybe Patil will.

  • Sriram on October 15, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    India XI for the first tour game against Eng - Vijay, Dhawan, Rahane, Bist, Yuvraj, Menaria/Kaif/Badri, Saha/DK, Harmeet?, Yadav, Awana, Shammi Ahmed and other probables include Mukund, Menaria, Vinay, PK, Binny, Mishra, Rahul?? If we want to be defensive then dont give spinning wickets and starve Eng to practise against quality spin, but if we are agressive and proactive play spinning tracks, put your best spinners and get Eng to commit mistakes and take no confidence into the Tests. My guess its will be flat tracks.

  • Sriram on October 15, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    @SamRoy, some good arguments there, but its biased. you say Mukund failed overseas, did you take note of what Dhawan and Rahane did overseas when they played Windies A. Mukund did okay against NZ A. By your argument even Vijay has scored bulk this season while Rahane has continued his poor form. Though i agree Rahane is better equiped over Vijay but if you go on form then both Vijay and Mukund are ahead of Rahane. Lastly, Mukund was not an outright failure agianst Windies and England. He made some decent runs, though did not score BIG Daddy runs. but then who did apart form Dravid? Dhawan is in prime form and right time to expose him agianst Eng in those tour games. So should the likes of Vijay, Mukund, Rahane and Bist, Mandeep.

  • Aravindh on October 15, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    Everyone s been talking about Yuvraj Singh's Technique in Test Cricket. I dont know how well he could play the test matches for India. But he s showed that he s a real fighter. He must have gone through a really tough time when he was diagnosed with cancer. But its really inspiring that he s comeback and it has been a satisfying performance from him so far. One of the most inspiring stories in World Cricket History. #YuvStrong

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    Congrats UV. But IMO, he is not made for Test Matches especially after what happened to him recently. About this knock - Out of 208 runs he scored, 150 runs came in boundaries. Even in WC T-20, his running between the wickets was too slow. I'm still not sure how FIT he is. We don't want that he plays a test match or two and gets injured again. He should concentrate on ODIs and T-20s only. His aim should be to win 2015 WC for India and of course T-20WC too. I hope, Selectors don't pick him for Tests. (Sounds rude but we want Fully Fit UV for shorter formats). - UV's Well Wisher !

  • ankur on October 15, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    We must not engulfed with emotions and ask for Yuvi's inclusion just because he's a cancer survivor and has done a remarkable recovery to play so soon.

    Yuvraj has had enough chances since2006 when Dada was chucked from the team and he was played.

    Even subsequent to Dada's retirement, he was not able to cement his place. Yuvi has outrageous talent but not the temperament to be a test player.

    Poor Rahane has scored 5000 runs at 64 avg is still carrying drinks.

  • Kashyap on October 15, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    congrats yuvi for the double ton...you are a true hero and inspiration...god bless you

  • sam on October 15, 2012, 6:35 GMT

    @Nampally You have been commenting on Indian cricketers for a very long time. Most of it makes sense. Though this one certainly doesn't. Yuvraj isn't cut out for test cricket and it would have been better for his body if he had skipped domestic first class matches this season. I agree with you on Dhawan though. Gambhir has been out of form for a very long time and Mukund has been failing on every overseas tour(with A team). But still I would prefer Mandeep Singh over Dhawan; better talent, younger and better defense. Sehwag must bat in middle order and Rahane and Mandeep can open. I know it is a bit of a gamble but outrageous short sightedness from the great Kris Srikanth leaves us with no choice.

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