Jaydev Unadkat’s (3/35) early triple strike followed by Chirag Jani’s (4/38) four-wicket haul to clean up the tail, ensured West Zone took a 355-run first innings lead over North East Zone in the Duleep Trophy quarterfinal here on Saturday.
West Zone skipper Ajinkya Rahane declared overnight with his team sitting pretty at 590/2. For North East, Ankur Malik provided some rear-guard action with a quick 81 off just 95 balls to bail out his side from deep trouble before the debutant team was bowled out for 235.
Earlier, under overcast conditions at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, Unadkat proved too good for the North East batters as he removed opener Kishan Lyndoh bowled and Mohammed Al Bashid off successive deliveries in the fifth over.
At the other end, medium-pacer Chintan Gaja then had Jonathan Rongsen bowled and when Unadkat had opener Techi Doria caught at slip, North East was struggling at 20 for four.
It was then left to Ashish Thapa (43) and skipper Hokaito Zhimomi (32) to steady things for North East as they added 62 runs for the fifth wicket.
When Malik walked out, his side was struggling at 84 for six but he played without inhibition taking on the bowlers and added 67 runs for the seventh wicket with Zhimomi.
The all-rounder went after left-arm spinner Shams Mulani hitting him for seven boundaries in his knock. The 19-year-old got down on his knees and targeted the leg-side fence with his sweep shots clearing the in-field with ease. Malik was dropped on 43 by Rahul Tripathi at backward point and the youngster got to his half-century in style with a punch through covers off pacer Gaja.
Despite securing the crucial first-innings lead, West Zone chose not to enforce the follow-on and ended the day at 12 for one in its second innings and led by 367 runs. The last day’s play gives a chance for West Zone’s other batters to have a hit in the middle before the semifinals.
West Zone (1st innings): 590/2 decl. (declared at overnight score).
North East Zone (1st innings): Techi Doria c Rahane b Unadkat 11, Kishan Lyngdoh b Unadkat 2, Mohammed Al Bashid c Het b Unadkat 0, Jonathan Rongsen b Gaja 2, Hokaito Zhimomi c Het b Gaja 32, Ashish Thapa c Mulani b Sheth 43, Dippu Sangma c Het b Sheth 2, Ankur Malik b Gaja 81, Kishan Singha lbw b Mulani 22, Rex Rajkumar Singh not out 28, Bishworjit Singh c Jani b Gaja 1, Extras (lb-7, nb-4): 11; Total (in 81.5 overs): 235
Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-13, 3-16, 4-20, 5-82, 6-84, 7-151, 8-189, 9-229
West Zone bowling: Unadkat 15-3-35-3, Gaja 15.5-4-38-4, Sheth 12-1-51-2, Jani 10-2-29-0, Mulani 26-10-65-1, Jaiswal 3-0-10-0.
West Zone (2nd innings): Het Patel b Dippu 7, Rahul Tripathi batting 5, Hardik Tamore batting 0,
Total (for one wkt in 9 overs): 12
Fall of wickets: 1-8
North East Zone bowling: Dippu 5-1-6-1, Rex 4-1-6-0.