March 30, 2002

North Zone gain five points despite Das' best efforts

Staff Reporter

Despite the best efforts of Subhomoy Das, who was tragically dismissed for 97, North Zone went on to take the first-innings lead at Delhi on Friday, picking five points from the drawn Duleep Trophy encounter against East Zone.

Das and Laxmi Rattan Shukla were really East Zone's crucial pair, and starting play on the last day, they must both have been looking to knock off the 200-odd runs they still trailed by. But they could only add 19 more runs together before Shukla, looking to play more sedately than on the previous evening, fell to Sarandeep Singh for 58 off 57 balls.

Utpal Chatterjee fell to the same bowler just 12 runs later, and North Zone looked like they would skittle out the remainder of the batting. But Sourashish Lahiri gave Das stout support, making 40 off 64 balls with seven fours and a six. Lahiri's was the final wicket to fall.

Das himself played impressively, keeping a cool head and a tight focus on the situation. His 97 came off 217 balls and included 14 fours. He fell finally with the score on 447 as the ninth wicket, just when he looked, along with Lahiri, to be taking East to an improbable first-innings lead.

With East Zone bowled out for 459, the 40.4 overs that North played out were purely academic. Shafiq Khan made 48 off 78 balls, and North reached 186 for four before the close of play.