Central Zone, first batting and then bowling out of their skins, registered a thrilling outright win over South Zone on the fourth day of their Duleep Trophy match at the KL Saini stadium, Jaipur, on Friday.
South Zone, resuming the day on 99 for two, were bowled out for only 201. Sridharan Sriram, South's most consistent batsman in this tournament, made 76 off 113 balls with nine fours, but he was dismissed with the score on 149, and that paved the way for a collapse.
Barring Vijay Bharadwaj, who scored 32 off 46 balls, none of the other batsmen could make significant scores. For Central, Jyoti Yadav and Kulamani Parida were the bowling stars, taking three and two wickets respectively to hasten the end.
South's collapse set Central a target of 250 for victory, a challenging task on a fourth-day pitch with a limited number of overs. But a win seemed possible when Jyoti Yadav and Gagan Khoda added 83 runs in 17.2 overs for the first wicket.
After Khoda was dismissed for 38, it was Jai P Yadav's turn to give good support to Jyoti Yadav, but Venkatesh Prasad had him caught behind for 25 off 32 balls. Yere Goud and Jyoti Yadav (69, 97b, 7x4) fell within one run of each other, and at 157 for four, South had clawed their way back into the game.
Minor but important contributions from the lower middle order preceded a crucial stand of 37 runs for the eighth wicket between Harvinder Singh (20) and Rohit Jhalani (27 not out). Jhalani finally guided his team to a narrow two-wicket win in the 64th over of the innings, giving Central eight points where, in a drawn match, they would have gotten three.