Central Zone could not have been too disappointed with their bowling effort on the second day of their Duleep Trophy match against South Zone, but their batting on the third day at Jaipur certainly left something to be desired.
That was, in part, thanks to M Suresh Kumar, who took five wickets for 54 runs with his left-arm spin, hastening the end of the innings by decimating the tail for next to nothing.
Central's first wicket fell with the score on just one, but Jyoti Yadav and Paresh Sutane added 83 runs in 20.4 overs for the second wicket, and South Zone were struggling to come back into the match.
The breakthrough was finally made by Vijay Bharadwaj, who had Sutane caught by Venkatesh Prasad for 32 off 64 balls. Yere Goud, next man in, made 23 off 56, but he and Jyoti Yadav departed in quick succession, leaving Central staggering at 136 for four.
The wickets continued to fall after Devendra Bundela was dismissed with the score on 159. Jai P Yadav hit a steady 33 off 58 balls, but he was the only other significant contributor, and Suresh Kumar's spin proved too much for the tail. Central were bowled out for 193, a deficit of 48 runs.
That deficit only widened as Sridharan Sriram continued his fine form. A centurion in the first innings, he ended the day unbeaten on 57 off 79 balls with seven fours. His opening partner, MSK Prasad, was run out early, but first A Nand Kishore and then Arjun Yadav gave him good support.
At the close of play, South were 99 for two, with Arjun Yadav unbeaten on eight. South now lead by 147 runs, and this match may yet see a result on the final day's play.