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Avesh, Saurabh help Central Zone secure vital lead; North Zone in control after Sindhu, Harshit tons

Central ended the day 124 ahead of East; North East 475 runs behind North's total

Himanshu Agrawal
Harshit Rana and Nishant Sindhu cracked hundreds on the second day  •  PTI

Harshit Rana and Nishant Sindhu cracked hundreds on the second day  •  PTI

Avesh, Saurabh lead for Central

Central Zone 64 for 0 (Vivek 34*, Mantri 25*) and 182 lead East Zone 122 (Parag 33, Avesh 3-34, Saurabh 3-46) by 124 runs
Fast bowler Avesh Khan and left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar hit back against East Zone by helping Central Zone secure a handy 60-run first-innings lead. With Central restricted to 182 on the first day, the two bowlers took three wickets each to bowl East out for 122 on day two in Alur.
After Avesh had already struck twice on the previous evening, Saurabh gave Central their first wicket on the second morning. He trapped Sudip Kumar Gharami lbw for 27 in the 20th over of the innings, before cleaning up nightwatcher Shahbaz Nadeem six overs later. In between, Yash Thakur had the experienced Anustup Majumdar caught behind for 4. As a result, 44 for 2 soon became 76 for 7, as Avesh had Shahbaz Ahmed bowled for 3.
Riyan Parag and Manisankar Munasingh then entertained with a quick 40-run partnership. But Central captain Shivam Mavi had Parag caught for 33, during which the batter hit five fours and a six, before dismissing Akash Deep for his second wicket of the innings.
In the second innings, Central's openers Vivek Singh and Himanshu Mantri added 64 in an unbroken stand, stretching the lead to 124 before rain brought an early end to the day's play

Sindhu, Harshit dominate North East

North East Zone 65 for 3 (Lamichaney 35*, Kaul 1-3) trail North Zone 540 for 8 dec (Sindhu 150, Harshit 122*, Singha 2-74) by 475 runs
North Zone's Nishant Sindhu slammed 150 while No. 9 Harshit Rana cracked an unbeaten 122 off just 86 balls to cement the side's strong position against North East Zone. Their heroics led North to 540 for 8, at which point they declared the innings.
North had begun with Sindhu and Pulkit Narang resuming their overnight seventh-wicket partnership, which ended at 130 when Narang fell for 46. Sindhu and Harshit then got together, adding another 104 at almost a run-a-ball. Sindhu got to his highest first-class score of 150, as the two North batters kept scoring runs at will.
Harshit continued being aggressive even after Sindhu departed. He hit 12 fours and nine sixes during his innings, which was his maiden first-class hundred. Harshit formed an undefeated union of 64 off 58 balls for the ninth wicket with Siddarth Kaul.
When North declared their innings after 136 overs, there was finally some relief for the North East bowlers and fielders. With a mountain of a score in front of them, North East's openers started cautiously, before Kaul cleaned up Kishan Lyngdoh in the fourth over. Next over, it was Baltej Singh's turn to strike, as he removed Joseph Lalthankhuma for 4.
From 10 for 2, Nilesh Lamichaney and captain Rongsen Jonathan added 47 for the third wicket to stage a brief recovery, but Harshit then hit back with the ball to have Jonathan lbw late in the day. North East ended the day 475 behind North's total as rain played spoilsport in the final session here as well.

Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo