East close in on semi-finals despite Cental fightback
East Zone 24 for 1 (Jaggi 12*, Behera 7*) and 427 lead Central Zone 390 (Kaif 105, Bundela 80, Mohanty 4-81) by 61 runs with nine wickets remaining
Central Zone staged a spirited fightback, after looking down and out, but ended up conceding what could turn out to be a crucial first-innings lead of 37 runs to East Zone on the third day of the Duleep Trophy quarter-final in Cuttack. It never looked like they would get that close after they slipped to 237 for 6, but a 71-run partnership between Madhya Pradesh batsman Devendra Bundela, who made 80, and former India left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, who got 43, gave them some hope.
As long as Bundela was at the wicket, there was a chance Central could go past East's big total, but after he fell, with the score on 390, Bengal seamer Ashok Dinda wrapped the innings up in the next over and East had the lead. Mohammad Kaif had managed to complete his century, after resuming on 78, but when he was bowled by Dinda, East were well on top. Dinda finished with four wickets, as did Orissa seamer Basanth Mohanty, who took the crucial wickets of overnight half-centurion Naman Ojha and Bundela.
East lost a wicket before the close of play, but should be able to see the match out for a draw, which would take them through to the semi-finals.