Ojha, bowlers put Central in command
Central Zone got themselves into a strong position against South Zone at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, gaining a significant first-innings lead and reaching a stage from where they can force an outright result.
The centurion Mohammad Kaif, who was unbeaten at the end of the first day, fell early on the morning of the second and Central were bowled out for 293.
The Central bowlers performed admirably, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jalaj Saxena sharing six wickets, to bowl out South for 183 and gain a 110-run lead. The main resistance from the South batsman came from the lower-middle order; Amit Verma and Stuart Binny, the lone half-centurion in the innings, added 55 for the fifth wicket. South Zone suffered a setback when opener Abhinav Mukund had to retire hurt after injuring his wrist, and didn't come out to bat later in the innings.
Wickets fell at regular intervals and it didn't help South that the Central batsmen put their team in a dominant position in the second innings. Naman Ojha was unbeaten on 79 at stumps, having struck five sixes in his ongoing 81-ball knock, and Kaif was batting on 41. The pair added 123 for the second wicket, extending the lead to 233 with two days still left in the match.
The contest between East Zone and North Zone in Delhi was interestingly poised at the end of the second day. A six-wicket haul from Parvinder Awana restricted East Zone for 315; the main contributors were wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who made 124, and Ishank Jaggi, who scored 86.
North fought back well on the second day, taking six East wickets. They fell for 38 runs. The batsmen complemented the efforts of the bowlers by way of a strong response, reaching 162 for 3 at stumps and with a good chance of gaining a first-innings lead. Shikhar Dhawan chipped in with 40, Mandeep Singh made 55 and the pair of Mayank Sidhana and Paras Dogra were unbeaten at the close, having put together a half-century stand. North are still 153 behind.