Kaif, Ojha give Central hope
Central Zone 169 for 3 (Kaif 78*, Naman Ojha 50*) 169 for 3 trail East Zone 427 (Saha 69, Pankaj 4-126) by 258 runs with 7 wickets remaining
Uttar Pradesh's Mohammad Kaif and Madhya Pradesh' Naman Ojha rescued Central Zone from what was a poor start to their innings in response to East Zone's 427. Central lost both their openers with the score just four, and then their captain, Rajasthan's Hrishikesh Kanitkar, was out, leaving them 55 for 3.
Kaif and Ojha took their time, taking 37.5 overs for their 114-run unbeaten stand. Kaif, who was recently bought by IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore, scored 78, while Ojha reached his half-century by the end of play.
Central had made a positive start to the day, taking two quick wickets, but wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha made sure East's score went pass 400. Saha, who returned from South Africa after the Test series during which he was India's reserve wicketkeeper, scored 69 and had useful partnerships with lower-order batsmen Ashok Dinda and Iresh Saxena to frustrate Central. Pankaj Singh, whose 43 wickets over the Ranji season were a major factor in Rajasthan winning the trophy, finished with figures of 4 for 126.