Having raced to an effortless 98,Ajinkya Rahane,who scored a magnificent 165 in the first essay,needed just two more runs to become only the second batsman to score a century in both innings of a Duleep Trophy final. That,however,was not to be.
South Zone captain Subramanium Badrinath,who himself struggled to reach the three-figure mark earlier in the day,induced a nick to end Rahanes bid for another record in a season which has seen plenty of those from the prolific Mumbaikars bat.
It couldnt prevent South from staring at defeat though. Despite their captains valiant 100,the hosts folded up for 199 with Ramesh Powar and Rajesh Pawar taking three wickets apiece. And as West reached 234 for four at stumps on Day Three,the deficit had reached an improbable 492.
After Wasim Jaffer didnt enforce the follow-on despite a 260-run lead,Rahane continued his impervious touch and with Parthiv Patel in tow,dominated the South bowlers. The 20-year-old hit four sixes and 10 fours. But he edged a Badrinath-delivery down the leg-side,bringing to a close an outstanding season,which yielded 1390 runs in 13 matches.
Overnight batsmen Badrinath and Dinesh Karthik started proceedings confidently,but the latter soon fell to a loose shot off a Siddharth Trivedi delivery. Eight wickets down,Badrinath upped the ante,but his century didnt look like coming as Sreesanth ran himself out and injured pacer Vinay Kumar had to walk out.
The Tamil Nadu batsman pulled a Dhawal Kulkarni delivery for four to reach his 19th first-class century,and Vinay Kumar was snared by Pawar off the very next delivery to bring Souths innings to a close.
Parthiv Patel took the attack to the South bowlers after Jaffer fell to Sreesanth,and retired hurt on 64.