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January 28, 2010
West Zone 769 and 56 for 1 lead North Zone 294 (Kohli 56, Bhatia 53, Pathan 3-69, Jadeja 3-54) by 531 runs
A gigantic first-innings lead of 475 didn't convince West Zone to enforce the follow-on against North Zone in Rajkot. North were bowled out for 294 chasing 769 but West decided to come out and bat again, virtually ruling out the possibility of an outright win unless North collapse on the final day. North were already in trouble overnight on the second day at 36 for 3, before the middle order stepped up. Virat Kohli and Rajat Bhatia made fifties while Vikramjeet Malik and Mithun Manhas made forties. Manhas and Bhatia added an exact 100 for the sixth wicket but it was the only century stand North managed. They needed more of those to get close to the follow-on target but succumbed to the duo of Irfan Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja, who took three wickets apiece. West came out and batted out 14 overs but lost Ajinkya Rahane for a duck. They ended with an overall lead of 531 and with the first-innings lead in the bag, they may well choose to bat out the final day since they're virtually assured of a place in the final.
South Zone 295 and 57 for 1 (Karthik 33*) need a further 234 runs to beat Central Zone 333 and 252 (Raina 59, Chawla 56, Ashwin 6-67)
The other semi-final in Indore was nothing like the drab affair in Rajkot, with all four results possible on the final day. After South Zone surrendered a first-innings lead, R Ashwin brought his team back into the game with a six-wicket haul to bowl out Central Zone for 252, leaving them a target of 291. Resuming on 254 for 8, Vinay Kumar frustrated the Central bowlers with an attacking 48 off 53 balls. His Karnataka team-mate Abhimanyu Mithun joined him in a tenth-wicket stand of 37 but it wasn't enough as South fell short of Central's first-innings score by 38. Vinay and Mithun struck early to reduce Central to 39 for 3 before Suresh Raina resisted with a fifty. Ashwin chipped away at the middle order as Central were in a spot of bother at 150 for 7. However, Piyush Chawla and Praveen Kumar staged another revival with a brisk stand of 62. Chawla made a run-a-ball 56 while Praveen made 40 off 39 balls. Ashwin finished with 6 for 67 while Mithun, who was named in the Indian Test squad to face South Africa, took two wickets. South lost Robin Uthappa early but the Tamil Nadu duo of Abhinav Mukund and Arun Karthik remained unbeaten. South will go into the final day needing a further 234 for a place in the final.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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