Late wickets give West the edge
West Zone capped a good day in the field, first boosted to 459 by Ajinkya Rahane's 165 and stubborn stands by the lower order and then snapping four wickets before stumps.
West were in need of consolidation after losing two late wickets on the opening day and they recovered well with the lower middle order rallying around Rahane. At lunch, West were well placed at 424 for 7, adding 121 in the morning session for the loss of two wickets. They added another 35 in the second session, led by Kedar Jadhav's 47.
The last four wickets added 99, much to the frustration of South's bowlers. Rahane and Siddharth Trivedi, the overnight batsmen, resisted with a stand of 57 for the sixth wicket. Rahane picked Sreesanth for boundaries early in the session before Trivedi opened up against the spinners. He was eventually trapped lbw to a straighter delivery by Shadab Jakati. Rahane piled on the runs before he was trapped on the back foot by Ashwin for 165.
The spinners failed to contain the lower order as Jadhav gave them the charge. Sreesanth struck just four balls after lunch, accounting for Rajesh Pawar off a short delivery to leave West at 424 for 8. Ramesh Powar hung around with Jadhav for 11 overs before he was run out. Jakati initially appealed for an lbw appeal against Powar, but the fielder at silly point caught the batsman straying from his crease and took aim at the stumps.
M Suresh wrapped up the innings in the following over after Jadhav, in sight of a half-century, attempted a slog but only managed a top edge to the wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.
South had a narrow escape in the first over when Wasim Jaffer grassed a catch at slip off M Vijay. Robin Uthappa then opened up in the final over before tea, hitting consecutive boundaries off Dhawal Kulkarni, but South proceeded to lose four big wickets in the final session. Just two deliveries after the resumption, Pawar got Vijay to tickle one to Parthiv Patel behind the stumps.
Powar found success early into his introduction though, as Uthappa danced down the track to the offspinner but could only york himself for a watchful 32 from 63 balls. A circumspect Rahul Dravid was the next to go, edging a flighted delivery from Pawar to Dhiraj Jhadav at gully (92 for 3).
Badrinath meted out punishment to Pawar, slamming him for three sixes in a 22-run over, and looked in good nick until stumps. But a moment's hesitation yielded another wicket shortly before the close. Badrinath pulled a short delivery from Powar to short leg, the ball deflected to short midwicket, and a moment of hesitation resulted in M Suresh being run out at the non-strikers end. Badrinath raised his half-century in the next over and really needs to settle in if South aim to get out of this jam.