Manhas helps North Zone gain vital lead

Central Zone 154 and 22 for 0 trail North Zone 249 (Manhas 68, Hirwani 4-62) by 73 runs

Mithun Manhas lead the way with a patient 68 as North Zone gained a crucial 95-run lead against Central Zone at Gurgaon.

Aakash Chopra (33) and Yuvraj Singh (46) began the day with a solid partnership off 66. Kulamani Parida, the offspinner who is in contention to replace Harbhajan Singh for the upcoming series against Pakistan, broke the stand when he had Yuvraj stumped, and when Dinesh Mongia and Chopra fell soon after North were struggling on 110 for 4.

But Ajay Ratra joined Manhas in a fifth-wicket stand of 103 as North eased past the modest Central score - both took a cautious approach and their partnership used up 37.3 overs. Narendra Hirwani was the most successful bowler for Central with 4 for 62.

Sanjay Bangar and Gagan Khoda, the Central Zone openers, survived seven overs before the close.