Five for Mahmood as England A toil
England A 225 and 78 for 2 (Smith 33*, Pietersen 29*) need another 288 runs to beat East Zone 283 and 308 (Mahmood 5-62)
Sajid Mahmood: five-wicket haul
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England A were set a daunting target of 367 on the third day of their Duleep Trophy match against East Zone in Amritsar, after a day of hard toil for their bowlers. East Zone resumed in the morning on 65 for 3, and though they soon slipped to 132 for 5, the tail showed impressive resilience to hoist the total to a daunting 308.
England's bowling honours were shared by Sajid Mahmood, leading the attack since the departure of Simon Jones, and the captain James Tredwell, who added four more wickets to his first-innings 5 for 101, but conceded his runs at exactly five an over.
East Zone, who had secured a first-innings lead of 58, took control once again in a sixth-wicket partnership of 106 between Laxmi Shukla (60) and Devang Gandhi (59). Tredwell eventually broke through, but England A's prospects were dented by the sight of Shiv Sunder Das striding out at No. 9. Das, who has already played 23 Tests, made a century in the first innings and had decided to put his feet up in the second, but he eventually used his feet well to make 55, before Mahmood dismissed him to bring an end to the innings.
England, who learned a thing or two about approaching tricky targets in their humiliating defeat against South Zone last week, made the worst possible start to their chase when Scott Newman was bowled by Shib Paul before for a fourth-ball duck. Michael Lumb then followed, lbw for 13 (25 for 2) and that victory seemed rather a distant prospect. But Ed Smith (33) and Kevin Pietersen (29) carried England safely through to the close without any further alarms, leaving them needing a further 288 on the final day for victory.