North Zone v Sri Lanka A, Duleep Trophy final, Kolkata, 1st day November 12, 2006

North Zone take first day's honours

Cricinfo staff

North Zone 51 for 0 trail Sri Lanka A 296 (Chamara Silva 84, Warnapura 65, Sharma 4-85) by 245 runs

Gagandeep Singh's three wickets pegged Sri Lanka A back at Kolkata © Cricinfo

Led by Gagandeep Singh and Rajesh Sharma's crucial strikes either side of lunch, North Zone reined in a blow-hot-blow-cold Sri Lanka A and took the first day's honours in the Duleep Trophy final at Kolkata.

Gagandeep picked up the crucial wickets of Malinda Warnapura and Chamara Silva, who both hit rapid half-centuries, while Sharma's offspin ran through the lower order and restricted Sri Lanka A to 296. Openers Akash Chopra and Gautam Gambhir continued the good work, taking North to 51 for no loss when bad light forced play to be called off seven overs before the scheduled close.

North had begun the day promisingly, reducing Sri Lanka A to 48 for 3. With just his seventh delivery, Gagandeep bowled Michael Vandort, the opener, before Joginder Sharma removed Mahela Udawatte and Thilan Samaraweera, the captain. It was here that the bowling was first tested, with Malinda Warnapura and Chamara Silva producing counter-attacking innings.

Where the top order struggled, Warnapura proceeded to hit 65 from 81 deliveries, with 11 fours and a six, smacked off just the thirteenth delivery he faced. Silva never found it hard to pick up boundaries - the first four deliveries of the 42nd over, bowled by Sharma, were dispatched to the fence - and appeared to be on his way to a hundred.

But their dismissals, both caught by Yashpal Singh off Gagandeep, swung the momentum North's way and opened up the lower order to Sharma, who spun out four wickets including Jehan Mubarak (39 from 59). Though he went for over five an over, Sharma's strikes helped keep Sri Lanka A under 300.

Chopra, with 39 from 46 balls, added 51 with Gambhir to give North a promising start with the bat.