File photo of Cheteshwar Pujara© Twitter
Cheteshwar Pujara looked rock-solid while Suryakumar Yadav played his natural attacking game as their contrasting half-centuries put West Zone in complete control after left-arm medium pacer Arzan Nagwaswalla’s five-wicket haul floored Central Zone on the second day of the Duleep Trophy semi-final here on Thursday. At stumps, West Zone reached 149 for 3 in their second essay, extending their overall lead to 241. This was after Shivam Mavi (6/44) quickly wrapped up the West Zone first innings for 220, for the addition of just four runs to their overnight score. But the joy turned out to be a short-lived one as Nagwaswalla, who has gone as net bowler with senior India team in 2021 tour of England, took 5/74 in 14.3 overs to decimate Central Zone for 128 in just 31.3 overs.
While he was hit for runs, he always got the breakthrough at right time en route his sixth five-wicket haul in first class cricket.
Save Dhruv Jurel (46) and his UP teammate Rinku Singh (48), none of the other Central batters could even cross a personal score of 15 and seven of them were dismissed before reaching double digits.
Buoyed by a 92-run first innings lead, West batters gave a far better account of themselves as Pujara remained unbeaten on 50 off 103 balls with five boundaries at the end of second day’s play.
However, Suryakumar’ 52 off 58 balls with eight fours and a six might have given the decisive advantage to West. The two India internationals added 95 runs in just over 24 overs.
Sarfaraz Khan (6 batting) will get a chance to make amends for his 12-ball-duck in the first innings.
The third day is expected to be the best day for batting and the West, having already put one foot in the summit door, would just like to kill the game as a contest unless Avesh Khan and Shivam Mavi could bowl a magical spell and keep the target within reach.
Suryakumar was severe on the pacers as Avesh was pulled for a six behind square while Mavi and Yash Thakur were also punished. He hit three boundaries each off pacer Yash Thakur and left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar. A couple of hits to the fence were of Mavi’s bowling.
Pujara’s innings had a couple of extra-cover drives, two customary clips towards deep mid-wicket and a square cut that raced away.
A big score will certainly boost his confidence after being excluded from the Indian team touring the West Indies.
Topics mentioned in this article