Match evenly poised as South chase 273
Day 3 South Zone 204 and 113 for 3 (Teja 54, Badrinath 42*) need another 160 runs to beat East Zone 313 and 163 (Halhadar 52*, Ashwin 3-33)
A superb bowling performance helped South Zone crawl their way back into their match against East Zone in Mumbai. After an eventful third day, the game was evenly poised with South needing another 160 runs to win with seven wickets in hand.
East were in command when the day started, having secured a handy 114-run lead with all their wickets intact. However, they let their advantage slip with an inept batting performance. Only one of their top six batsmen got a start - Anustup Majumdar - as they crashed to 79 for 6.
No. 7 Halhadar Das, who made 93 in the first innings, top scored again with an unbeaten 52, including eight boundaries, to add some respectability to the East total. Tushar Saha also chipped in with a 28 to help set a target of 273. South's bowlers kept the runs under check; Ashwin Raghu finished with impressive figures of 3 for 33.
South's pursuit got off to a bad start with Murali Vijay falling in the first over to former India international Debasis Mohanty. S Badrinath, the South Zone captain, and Ravi Teja stitched together an 81-run stand for the second wicket. Teja was aggressive - making 54 in 59 balls and lashing eight fours and a six - before left-arm spinner Saha trapped him in front. Arjun Yadav made 12 before falling in a similar manner. Badrinath remained unbeaten on a sedate 42 with wicketkeeper Prasad Reddy keeping him company.
England Lions 155 and 146 for 1 (Carberry 71*, Yardy 57*) need another 150 runs to beat Central Zone 270 and 180 (Kaif 42, Onions 3-40)
A spirited performance from England Lions' gave them the edge going into the final day of their match against Central Zone. Chasing a stiff 296 for victory, they reached a confident 146 for 1 by stumps in Vadodara.
Joe Denly was the only Lions' wicket to fall, trapped in front by left-arm spinner Praveen Gupta for 15. Michael Carberry and captain Michael Yardy then forged an unbroken 116-run stand for the second wicket to lead the Lions' pursuit. Needing to score the highest total of the match to win, Carberry and Yardy both played patient knocks to ensure there was no repeat of the second day's batting collapse. Carberry, who made 35 in the first innings, didn't throw away his start this time, finishing on an unbeaten 71, including 12 fours and a six. The experienced Yardy had reached 57 by stumps.
Central had started the day in control after gaining a 115-run first-innings lead but were kept down to a moderate 180 in their second. With a top-order collapse seeing them at a parlous 39 for 4, Mohammad Kaif, the captain, tried to salvage the situation, top scoring with 42. The tail also resisted with a 60-run partnership for the seventh wicket between Jalaj Saxena (27) and Sanjib Sanyal (37).
All the Lions' bowlers chipped in, with Graham Onions being the most successful, taking three wickets. Monty Panesar was expensive but got the big wicket of the in-form Kaif while legspinner Adil Rashid made short work of the last two wickets.