Central-North Duleep tie tantalisingly poised

Published: Wednesday, March 9, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Nagpur:The Duleep Trophy final was poised for a thrilling finish with Central Zone requiring 141 runs to clinch the title on a lively track at the VCA cricket ground here today.

Central, who dismissed North for 169 in their second innings, were yet to open their account in the two balls bowled before the second day's proceedings were called off due to bad light 19 minutes before the scheduled close.

Earlier, Central zone, overnight 94 for 4 in their first innings, added just 39 runs as the lost their remaining six wickets to be all out for a meagre 133 off 49.3 overs.

Medium pacers R S Sodhi (3 for 10) and Gagandeep Singh (3 for 52), put North zone back in the match with their fine performance as the Central zone batsmen surrendered without any resistance.

Amit Bhandari 2 for 43 and Joginder Sharma 2 for 27, also exploited the seaming conditions.

North Zone once again made a poor start in their second essay losing two early wickets of Akash Chopra (2) and R S Sodhi (1).

Opener Ravneet Ricky (37) and skipper Dinesh Mongia (23) held the innings briefly with a 48 runs third wicket stand before pacer Harvinder Singh struck.

Harvinder (3 for 17) sent back Mongia and Ricky in the space of just one run while Sanjay Bangar trapped Mithun Manhas (1) leg before to send North reeling at 5 for 66.

Bangar, who maintained a consistent line, soon removed Joginder Sharma while Manvinder Bisla (12) fell to Harvinder as North were reduced to 82 for 7.

North were rescued from further humiliation by a 59-run eighth wicket stand between Sharandeep Singh (34) and Amit Mishra (28) who helped North to 169 allout in 61.4 overs.

With three days play still remaining, Central batsmen will need to show all their skills to knock off the required runs.

On the other hand, North will again be looking at their four-prong pace attack to exploit the overcast conditions expected tomorrow.

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