West Zone 411 and 99 for 0 (Rahane 53*, Kukreja 40*) lead Central Zone 384 (Kaif 160, Rawat 48, Dhurv 4-84) by 126 runs
Scorecard


Kaif's 160 wasn't enough to get Central the first-innings lead © Cricinfo Ltd
 

West Zone won a close battle for the first-innings lead despite a career-best 160 by Central Zone captain Mohammad Kaif, before their openers proceeded to press home the advantage with an unbeaten 99-run stand.

Resuming at 237 for 5, in response to West Zone's 411, it was always going to be a battle between Kaif and the bowlers. Kaif added 64 to his overnight score, but ran out of partners pretty soon. He was the ninth man to get out, with Central still 49 short. He had partnerships going with lower-order batsmen: 134 with overnight partner Mahesh Rawat, 51 with Sanjib Sanyal and 38 with Murali Kartik, but they lost wickets at crucial junctures, falling short by 27 runs.

Left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhurv took two of the wickets that fell today to finish with figures of 4 for 84. Munaf Patel added Sudeep Tyagi's wicket to his overnight haul of two wickets.

Ajinkya Rahane and Sahil Kukreja, the Mumbai openers, repeated their solid first-innings performance to frustrate the Central bowlers and virtually bat them out of the contest. Rahane scored his second half-century of the match, while Kukreja closed in on his second.

North Zone 299 (Yashpal Singh 97, Vinay Kumar 4-87) and 72 for 2 beat South Zone 157 (Vinay Kumar 41*, Malik 5-44, Bhatia 4-13) and 211 (Vijay 39, Mishra 4-51, Bhatia 2-39) by 8 wickets
Scorecard

North Zone turned in another solid bowling performance to dismiss South Zone for 211 in the second innings, before knocking off the required 70 runs to get off to a great start in the Duleep Trophy.

South resumed on the third day at 95 for 2, having fallen behind by 142 in the first innings, and Amit Mishra, with 4 for 51, made sure North wouldn't have to chase a steep target. The South Zone batsmen got starts, but nobody went on to compile a meaningful score, with M Vijay top scoring with 39. D Kalyankrishna stayed unbeaten on 31, to add to his first-innings resistance that also yielded 31 runs. Vikramjeet Malik and Rajat Bhatia chipped in with two wickets each.

North missed out on the bonus point, as they lost Aakash Chopra and Sachin Rana before they could reach the target.