Duleep Trophy 2003-04 February 18, 2004

East Zone snap up two valuable points

Wisden Cricinfo staff

East Zone 388 and 216 for 9 dec (Gandhi 87) drew with South Zone 331 and 7 for 0

Despite a valiant 72-run ninth-wicket partnership between Ramakrishnan Ramkumar and Narender Pal Singh, South Zone failed to gain the first-innings lead in their opening match of the Duleep Trophy at Dharmasala. Assured of two points, East Zone settled for batting practice and killed all hopes of a thrilling climax.

Having secured a crucial 57-run first-innings lead, East were precariously placed at 33 for 4. Rohan Gavaskar's breezy 37 off 38 balls ensured there would be no collapse, even as Devang Gandhi compiled a fluent 87 to take the team to safety. Gandhi's knock contained 10 fours and a six. Sunil Joshi was the most impressive of the South bowlers, as in the first innings, finishing with 6 for 160 in the match.

East declared at the fag end of the day, and South played out the three overs without losing any wickets. Shiv Sunder Das had laid the solid foundation for East on the first day with a dogged 120, and Laxmi Ratan Shukla's energetic 84 propped up the total on the second day. None of the South batsmen converted their starts, and only Sadagoppan Ramesh and Sunil Joshi passed the 50-run mark.

Central Zone 549 (Khoda 156) drew with West Zone 352 for 4 (Jadhav 154, Kanitkar 96, Martin 50*)

Dheeraj Jadhav might have tested everyone's patience with his 445-ball 154, but that innings ensured that West Zone came away unscathed after their opening match against Central Zone at Gurgaon. Jadhav's monumental effort was complimented by dogged knocks from Hrishikesh Kanitkar and Jacob Martin. Kanitkar contributed 96 to the 216-run partnership with Jadhav, and Martin helped himself to 50, remaining unbeaten in the end.

Central's mammoth 549 was largely built around Gagan Khoda's 156 at he top of the order. Four other batsmen achieved half-centuries as the West bowlers toiled for more then six sessions. In the end though, neither team picked up any points from the match.