East Zone v West Zone, Duleep Trophy Final November 13, 2005

Final tantalisingly poised after Dasgupta and Shukla fightback

Cricinfo staff

East Zone 150 (A Das 56, Bahutule 3-29, M Patel 3-41) and 176/9 (Dasgupta 61, Shukla 66, Zaheer 4-41) lead West Zone 157(Parthiv 43, Ganguly 3-20) by 169 runs

Deep Dasgupta hit a valiant 61 to lead the East Zone fightback © Getty Images
An 120-run partnership for the sixth-wicket between Deep Dasgupta (61) and Laxmi Shukla (66) pulled East Zone from dire straits at 39 for 5 to 176 for 9 at stumps on day 2 to leave the low-scoring Duleep Trophy Final intriguingly placed. Earlier Parthiv Patel (43) and Zaheer Khan (28 not out) lifted West Zone, who resumed the day at a shaky 61 for 5, to 157 securing a lead of seven.

The advantage swung either way on a day where Sourav Ganguly bagged a pair-dismissed by Zaheer again- and at the end the match was evenly poised. However, East has put up runs on the board and the pressure will be on the West Zone batsmen tomorrow.

Zaheer Khan rocked East Zone with an incisive opening burst sending back both the openers Arindam Das - in the opening over- and Shiv Sunder Das. Sourav Ganguly walked in at 35 for 3 when Vasanth Saravanan was run-out by Munaf Patel. He had been dismissed for a duck in the first innings by the bowler he had handpicked - Zaheer - and now in the second, was done in by the same man. Trapped lbw off the very first ball he faced. 35 for four soon became 39 for five when Rohan Gavaskar edged behind.

A brilliant fighting partnership by Dasgupta and Shukla ensued. 120 runs came in 34.3 overs to pull East Zone out of troubled waters. Shukla spent 100 minutes at the crease facing 166 balls for his valiant 66.

Sairaj Bahutule opened the flood gates by getting Shukla stumped. If Zaheer felt like a boy who killed a dove after dismissing Ganguly, he didn't show it as he bowled Saurasish Lahiri for a duck. Dasgupta - who continued with the fighting vein of the wicketkeepers with the bat in this match - fell to Ramesh Powar for a defiant 61 off 130. Bahutule and Patel combined again to dismiss Shahbaz Nadeem to leave East 169 runs ahead at the end of the day two.

Earlier Parthiv Patel added 39 runs with Niraj for the sixth-wicket and then 25 with Zaheer for the ninth-wicket to help secure a lead of seven. A thrilling day's play is on the cards tomorrow.