Duleep Trophy 2003-04 February 16, 2004

Central Zone head for large total

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Close of 2nd day Central Zone 532 for 7 (Khoda 156, Yadav 80, Prakash 73, Bundela 72, Saxena 69*) v West Zone

West Zone spent another day on the field, while Central Zone batted them out of the game. A run rate of 2.74 fetched the batting side 255 runs for the day, and at close of play, the score read 532 for 7. The 108-run stand between Gagan Khoda and Devendra Bundela was ended when Rakesh Patel bowled Khoda for 156. Shortly after, Bundela fell for 72, but Saxena and Jai P Yadav accumulated more runs, adding 68 for the sixth wicket. Two sixes and seven fours laced Yadav's innings of 80, and when he was finally dismissed by Sairaj Bahutule, it was left to Saxena to take his team to a more formidable total. Assisting him with the task was Harvinder Singh, on 24, and they shared an unbeaten partnership worth 53 runs.

Close of 2nd day South Zone 93 for 3 (Ramesh 57, Rao 12*, Prasad 2*) trail East Zone 388 (Das 120, Shukla 84, Arindam 55, Singh 4-66) by 295 runs

A rescue act by East Zone's lower order kept South Zone at bay, and took the team to 388. By the end of the day, South Zone were in a shifty position at 93 for 3, still 295 runs away from taking the first-innings lead.

The overnight batsmen, Shiv Sunder Das and Rajiv Kumar, fell to Narender Singh early on the second day, and when Sunil Joshi removed Saurasish Lahiri for a blob, the end was quite close. But the last three wickets put up 105 runs between them, and Laxmi Ratan Shukla led the way with 84. He was helped by Utpal Chatterjee (25) and Debasish Mohanty (26), who played out valuable overs, and kept the runs coming.

South Zone got off to a start, but two wickets in quick succession set them back. Barrington Rowland was dismissed after contributing 15 in a 52-run stand with Sadagoppan Ramesh, who blazed away to 57 off 91 with nine boundaries before getting out. And in the middle of all this, Shukla ran out Sridharan Sriram. At the end of the day, Venugopal Rao was at the crease at 12, with Mannava Prasad for company on 2.