Aparajith and Pandey revive South Zone
South Zone 213 for 3 (Aparajith 93*, Pandey 81*) v West Zone
An unbeaten 161-run fourth-wicket stand between B Aparajith and Manish Pandey helped South Zone overcome a shaky start and reach a healthy 213 for 3 in the first day of their Duleep Trophy quarter-final clash against West Zone in Chennai. Only 54 overs of play were possible after the start was delayed by nearly three hours due to a wet outfield.
South Zone, choosing to bat, struggled to cope with the seamers early on, and lost the openers Abhinav Mukund and Akshath Reddy off successive overs from Jaydev Unadkat and Murtuja Vahora respectively.
KL Rahul, fresh from a series of impressive performances for the Under-23 team in the Emerging Teams Cup in Singapore, was sent in at No. 3 to provide some stability. However, he was trapped lbw for 6 by Yusuf Pathan in the 16th over, leaving South Zone at 52 for 3.
But Aparajith and Pandey counterattacked by striking a total of 18 fours between them. Pandey had made successive fifties for India Blue in the recently concluded Challenger Trophy and he continued his good form with the bat on Thursday by hitting a 118-ball 81 that included seven fours and a six. He was given ample support at the other end by Aparajith, who hit 11 fours during a patient 93, seven short of what would be his second first-class century.
West Zone captain Wasim Jaffer introduced Rakesh Dhruv, Akshay Darekar and Ankit Bawne all into the mix to break the partnership, but the pair stood firm and survived 38 overs, to give South Zone a solid platform to build on.