January 18, 2001

West Zone take honours on first day

Staff Reporter

The titans of Indian domestic cricket, West and South Zones, met at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium in Surat on Thursday with some of the biggest names in the game locking horns in this Duleep Trophy match. West Zone took the honours on the first day which they ended on a satisfactory 310 for three wickets off 90 overs. Vinod Kambli (48) and Jacob Martin (85) were at the crease at close of play.

Skipper Nayan Mongia began the four day game on a winning note and asked South Zone to parade their bowling skills. His openers did not disappoint the skipper's decision as they set out to negotiate the new ball. Both Connor Williams and Wasim Jaffer played the new ball attack of Dodda Ganesh and KS Shahabuddin comfortably.

The duo were together for 58 runs before Sunil Joshi had Williams caught by Hemang Badani in the 24th over of the day. The dismissal of the southpaw brought Hrishikesh Kanitkar to the crease to join the Mumbai opener. Kanitkar and Jaffer added 43 runs in 9.5 overs for the second wicket. The second left arm spinner in South's armoury, Venkatapathy Raju, scalped Jaffer who missed his half-century by a solitary run. Jaffer played 99 balls with six hits to the fence.

Kanitkar and Martin played sensibly and returned to the pavilion without any further damage at the lunch interval. West Zone were 110 for the loss of both openers in 37 overs, with Martin on 14 and Kanitkar on 21.

After the lunch interval, Kanitkar and Martin batted out the session taunting and tantalising the South spinners. None of the bowlers were able to have any effect on the proceedings in the session. The West batsmen added 97 runs in 30 overs after the lunch interval, returning to enjoy their tea break without any further damages as the South bowlers toiled hard to get a breakthrough. West were comfortable placed at 207 for two at tea, Kanitkar on 79 and Martin on 51.

The century partnership came to an end in the sixth over of the final session of the day. Kanitkar became overambitious as he attempted to hoick Joshi for a six. He mistimed the stroke and was gobbled by Dodda Ganesh on the boundary. He missed out on a century as he was back in the pavilion for 95 off 150 balls, with 13 boundaries and a solitary six. The pair had added 129 runs for the third wicket off 39.5 overs.

One southpaw was replaced by another, as the explosive Vinod Kambli walked in to join Martin at the crease. Kambli was his destructive self as he went about plundering the spinners all around the ground. He amassed a quickfire 48 runs from 53 balls with eight hits to the fence and one trademark six. Kambli added 80 runs off 17.2 overs for the unbeaten fourth wicket partnership with Martin as stumps were called.