March 26, 2002

Vikram Rathour cracks a masterly unbeaten century

Staff Reporter

Vikram Rathour with an unbeaten 149 helped North Zone to 250/3 at close of play against East Zone in the Duleep Trophy league match being played at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi, on Tuesday.

After electing to bat first, North Zone got off to a wonderful start; Rathour and Akash Chopra added 140 runs for the first wicket. The two opening batsman played sensibly to raise the 100 runs partnership in 37.5 overs, soon after the lunch break. Left-arm spinner Sourasish Lahiri struck the first blow by removing Chopra, caught by Sanjay Raul. Chopra made 58 runs and was at the crease for 185 minutes, facing 161 balls. He struck eight strokes past the ropes before missing out on a track that looks full of runs.

Pankaj Dharmani joined Rathour in the middle and there was no joy for the East Zone bowlers. The second wicket partnership yielded 68 runs and it was once again Lahiri who picked the crucial wicket, Dharmani (29) was caught by Debang Gandhi. In the meanwhile Rathour had raced past his hundred off 182 balls.

North Zone skipper Mithun Manhas was the next man in and struggled for a while. After scratching around for 56 minutes and facing 34 balls, Manhas was caught by Subhomoy Das off the bowling of Laxmi Ratan Shukla, just before the close of play. At stumps on day-one North Zone are in a commanding position with Rathour going great guns. He has so far decorated his innings with 23 strokes past the ropes. Giving him company at the crease is Safi Khan (0*)

Sourasish Lahiri (29-3-89-2) found some success on a day when the bowlers clearly struggled.