Mohanty's all ten feat highlights action packed day in Duleep Trophy
Debasish Mohanty's outstanding achievement of taking all ten wickets highlighted the opening day's play in the Duleep Trophy match between South Zone and East Zone at the Maharaja Bir Bikram College Stadium in Agartala on Thursday. The 24-year-old Indian seam bowler cut through the formidable South Zone batting order as they were shot out for 113 runs. The Orissa spearhead bowled unchanged for remarkable figures of 19-5-46-10. But South Zone, with Javagal Srinath in great form, hit back and bowled out East Zone for 124. Srinath took the first six wickets and finished with six for 32. South Zone in their second innings were three for no loss off two deliveries before play was called off because of bad light.
It was indeed an action packed day's play with 20 wickets falling for 240 runs. South Zone skipper Rahul Dravid won the toss, opted to bat first, made a bad start and never recovered. The first to go was Sridharan Sriram who was leg before to Mohanty in the medium pacer's third over. Then in Mohanty's fifth over, the other opener Nandakishore was also leg before.
Dravid faced 14 balls without scoring but the next was his last as he edged Mohanty to wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta. Two balls later, Vijay Bhardwaj was out to the same combination for another duck and South Zone were tottering at 22 for four.
The in form VVS Laxman held firm and he and wicketkeeper VST Naidu took the score to 37 but with the last ball of his ninth over, Mohanty had Naidu leg before. In the next over, Mohanty got the all important wicket of Laxman whom he bowled for 20. Laxman faced 54 balls and hit three fours.
Aashish Kapoor was fairly aggressive and hit three boundaries. But when on 12, he was out to the last ball of Mohanty's 13th over leaving South Zone groggy at 65 for seven.
Srinath joined Sunil Joshi and the two figured in the best partnership of the innings by putting on 37 runs off 9.3 overs. Then the left handed Joshi was caught by Parida off Mohanty in the bowler's 18th over. Joshi faced 41 balls and hit five fours.
The end of the innings came swiftly with Mohanty striking twice in his 19th over. First, he bowled Srinath and three balls later, hit Venkatesh Prasad's stumps. WD Balaji Rao remained not out with eight. The South Zone innings lasted a shade over three hours and 37 overs.
Mohanty became only the fifth Indian bowler to take all ten wickets. He joined the ranks of Subash Gupte (24.2-7-78-10) for President's XI against Combined XI in 1954-55, PM Chatterjee (19-11-20-10) for Bengal against Assam in 1956-57, Pradeep Sundaram (22-5-78-10) for Rajasthan against Vidarbha in 1985-86 and Anil Kumble (26.3-9-74-10) for India against Pakistan in 1998-99. He surpassed the previous best haul in the Duleep Trophy - 9 for 55 by Baloo Gupte for West Zone against South Zone in the 1962-63 final at Calcutta.
When East Zone batted, they too found the going tough against Srinath. The 31-year-old Indian spearhead was in his elements. First, with the last ball of his second over, he trapped skipper Shiv Sundar Sas leg before. In his next over, he bowled SS Parida for a duck. Then with the first ball of his seventh over he had the in form SS Raul caught by Nandakishore. In the same over, he had Rohan Gavaskar leg before and East Zone were, like South Zone at this stage, tottering at 20 for four.
The other opener P Jai Chandra who had been holding one end, was finally leg before to Srinath for 18 off the last ball of his eighth over. And off the first ball of his next over, Srinath had Dasgupta caught by Nandakishore for a duck. East Zone at this stage were 33 for six with Srinath having taken all the wickets.
Sukhbinder Singh joined his Assam skipper SZ Zuffri and the two initiated a recovery of sorts by adding 54 runs off 14 overs for the seventh wicket. Sukhbinder who dominated the stand was finally out to Sunil Joshi for 31, giving Nandakishore his third catch of the innings. He faced 49 balls and hit six fours.
Veteran left arm spinner Utpal Chatterjee and Zuffri then continued the recovery process by adding 31 runs for the eighth wicket off nine overs before the former was stumped by Naidu off Kapoor for 15. By this time East Zone had taken the lead but the innings did not last long thereafter. First, Zuffri was caught by Laxman off Prasad for a fighting 30. He faced 75 balls and hit five of them to the ropes. A little later, Mohanty was leg before to Kapoor and the innings had come to an end with East Zone ahead by 11 runs. They too batted a shade over three hours and 43.5 overs.