East Zone v North Zone, Rajkot, 2nd day February 12, 2008

VRV five-for puts North in control

Cricinfo staff

North Zone 360 (Manhas 88, Nanda 58, Mishra 52, Paul 5-106) and 109 for 2 (Chopra 56*, Goel 34) lead East Zone 143 (Wriddhiman 56*, VRV Singh 5-59) by 326 runs

VRV Singh snared five of East Zone's top six batsmen to put North Zone in control © AFP

VRV Singh's five-wicket burst put North Zone in control on the second day of their match against East Zone in Rajkot. East were skittled out for 143, to give North a massive 213-run first-innings lead and put them on the brink of a place in the final.

Resuming at 260 for 7, North's lower-order continued their spirited showing to take their side to 360. Chetanya Nanda did the bulk of the scoring, carting nine boundaries in his 59-ball 58. After Shib Paul dismissed overnight batsman Uday Kaul (48) to grab his 15th first-class five-wicket haul, Vikramjeet Malik (13) and VRV (20*) chipped in with aggressive cameos.

East's reply started off belligerently and despite the early loss of Arindam Majumdar and Anustup Majumdar, the run-rate continued to hover around the six an over mark. VRV, who had inflicted the first two blows, removed the experienced Shiv Sunder Das (23), and Manish Vardhan off successive deliveries to reduce East to 69 for 4.

VRV, who was part of the Indian squad to the Australia tour, was still not done though, removing wicketkeeper Halhadar Das four overs later to leave East in serious trouble at 93 for 5. Wriddhiman Saha was the only batsman to stand firm against the onslaught, remaining unbeaten on 56. The next highest contributor was extras with 25, including 17 no-balls.

With East's prospects of making the finals looking bleak, North piled on the agony in their second innings with Aakash Chopra's unbeaten 56 taking them through to 109 for 2 at stumps, an overall lead of 326.