Powar spins a magic web on South Zone

Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Hyderabad:Ramesh Powar spun a magic web by claiming seven wickets for 44 runs to dismiss South Zone for 187 and West Zone were 71 for three at close on the opening day of the four-day Duleep Trophy tournament being played at the Visakha Stadium in Hyderabad on Tuesday.

After the Indian pace trio Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar and Irfan Pathan proved their fitness ahead of the crucial series against Pakistan with inspired spells to claim the first three wickets, right arm spinner Ramesh Powar opened the flood gates by breaching the 'Wall' Rahul Dravid (1) and went on to claim the remaining wickets for an impressive figres of 22.5-6-44-7.

West Zone replied on a flourishing note with openers Dheeraj Jadhav and Satyajit Parab playing well before Rahul Dravid brought in Anil Kumble who struck in his very first over to dismiss Satyajit Parab for 13.

Wasim Jaffer, who joined Jadhav stepped up the pace of the game, hitting 13 runs off L Balaji with three hits to the fence before he was withdrawn after bowling seven overs and was replaced by R Vinay Kumar and the visitors ended the day at 71 for three with star spinner Anil Kumble claiming twowickets for 14 runs.

Electing to bat, South Zone lost grip over the game with West Zone bowlers getting on top on a pitch which has no moisture nor was very helpful to the bowlers as the big names of South were just playing bad shots.

After the Indian bowling trio proved their prowess and fitness by troubling the batsmen though they could not get any help from the wicket, the spinner from Mumbai took over to demolish the South Zone innings with his deceptive flight as the hosts were all out in 24 minutes of extended tea time.

Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar opened the bowling attack and did not find much help from the pitch and stretched further sticking to a good line and length troubling the South Zone openers Robin Uthappa and Roland Barrington from the very first over.

Irfan trapped Robin before the wicket with his change of pace for five runs and the Western speedsters made a ripping in roads with their cutting in-cutters and Zaheer Khan made Roland Barrington commit on the front foot and was plumb leg before wicket for eight and the South Zone was reeling at 2 for 25 when the near capacity stadium erupted into a huge applause seeing their local hero VVS Laxman coming on to the crease.

Laxman did play a couple a of good strokes and hit three fours drawing huge applause from the crowd but that was all he could do in his brief stay at the wicket.

Laxman hit a good straight drive before he tried to hook Agarkar and the ball landed in the safe hands of Irfan Pathan at square-leg.

In between Rahul Dravid (1) made a hurry exit with the spinner Ramesh Powar drawing the first blood with Neeraj Patel taking a good catch in close quarters. South Zone went to lunch at 84 for five.

Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan did prove that they are fully fit and their body language suggested that they were enjoying the game. The run-up and action was as swift and as fast as it was giving no doubts of their injury.

Sachin on the other hand was well placed at mid-on and point and had little work to do besides motivating Powar and other youngsters.

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