Powar and Pawar power West Zone
West Zone 201 and 146 for 5 (Jaffer 47) lead North Zone 196 by 151 runs
Beginning the day at 114 for 2, North Zone were placed well to overhaul West Zone's total of 201, but a steady stream of falling wickets - triggered by Zaheer Khan and capitalised on by Ramesh Powar and Rajesh Pawar - saw them fall short by only five runs at Lucknow. However, the bowlers then reduced West to 146 for 5; with two days to go, bonus points will not matter much because a drawn game is highly unlikely.
Zaheer dismissed Aakash Chopra with his fourth ball of the morning, having him caught behind by Parthiv Patel. A 36-run partnership between Ravneet Ricky and Yuvraj Singh followed, but once Yuvraj stepped out to Powar, and was stumped, wickets tumbled.
Then Dinesh Mongia struck back for North, removing Satyajit Parab cheaply. Then Wasim Jaffer and Dheeraj Jadhav put on 56 before Gagandeep Singh dismissed Jaffer for 47. West made their way to 146 for 5 by the day's end.
Central Zone 189 (Ojha 40, Paul 6-50 and 7 for 1 trail East Zone 194 and 131 (Shukla 53*, Yadav 5-29) by 130 runs
Central Zone fell short of East Zone's total of 194 by only five runs at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium in Gwalior. However, by bowling East out for 131, they put themselves in a position to end the match in their favour tomorrow. By stumps, Central were 7 for 1, and required 130 for victory. Naman Ojha top-scored in their first innings with 40 - a score surpassed by Laxmi Ratan Shukla's unbeaten 53 for East - and was involved in valuable stands with Jai P Yadav and Murali Kartik, who scored 29 each. But Shib Sankar Paul struck repeatedly to hamper Central's progress, and ended with 6 for 50.
East then began in a blaze, with Mahendra Dhoni smashing 15 off 10, but blacked out immediately. After the openers, everyone, barring Shukla, scored in single digits. Yadav claimed his second five-wicket haul (5 for 34) to end with 10 for 64 and removed the heart of the batting in the process. Central then lost a wicket in the third over, but Mohammad Kaif and Sanjay Bangar negotiated the rest of the day, until bad light stopped play.