South Zone v North Zone, Duleep Trophy, Vadodara, 1st day October 20, 2005

Balaji's double strike pulls things back

Cricinfo staff

South Zone 219 (Sriram 43, Badani 42) North Zone 4-2 (Balaji 2-2)

Lakshmipathy Balaji pulled things back for South Zone © Getty Images
Despite bowling out South Zone for 219 after putting them in, West Zone won't be breathing easy as they were jolted by a double strike by Lakshimipathy Balaji, losing two early wickets for just four runs in their reply at the end of the first day of the Duleep Trophy at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara.

South Zone collapsed from a relatively good position of 135 for 3, struggling against the spin of Ramesh Powar (4 for 78) and Sairaj Bahutule (3 for 65). Robin Uthappa and Sridharan Sriram had stabilised the innings after the early exit of the Swapnil Asnodkar, putting on 40 runs for the second wicket when, with the score of 43, Uthappa was run out by Dheeraj Jhadav. VVS Laxman departed soon, falling cheaply for 7, bowled by Munaf Patel.

Then Sriram and Hemang Badani (42 off 109 balls) took the total to 135 when Sriram fell to Bahutule. Sriram spent four hours and 10 minutes at the crease for his 43 off 167 balls. Seven runs later, Bahutule struck again, trapping Badani lbw. Then the collapse started as Powar struck four times. Dinesh Kartik fought a lone battle chipping in with a breezy 34 off 41 balls as wickets tumbled around him.

But West Zone's joy didn't last long as Balaji bowled Satyajit Parab and then induced Rakesh Patel to edge behind to Karthik in the space of 9 deliveries to lead the fightback .