Yuvraj Singh carried on from where he left off on Sunday as he completed a well-deserved double century to put North in a comfortable position at stumps on the second day of their Duleep Trophy semi-final against Central Zone here on Monday.
Undefeated on 133 overnight,Yuvraj scored 208 off only 243 balls with the help of 33 boundaries and three huge sixes as North managed a commendable 451 in 119.2 overs.
Central then crawled to 146 for five in 58 overs when stumps were drawn. They still need 306 runs to get an all-important first innings lead,which now looks highly unlikely.
It was another day which was dominated by Yuvraj and he added 75 runs to his overnight score of which 58 were in boundaries. He added 13 more fours to his 20 he hit on Sunday and added another six to the two he had hit on Sunday. Yuvraj made 208 out of a total of 451 but what was impressive was his strike rate of 86.30. Yuvraj was caught and bowled by Murali Kartik but by then he had done the damage.
The time he spend in the middle provided to be a good test for the batsman who is making a comeback after overcoming cancer. Yuvraj returned to international cricket during the Twenty20 Internationals against New Zealand but the Duleep Trophy game was to be the real test for the 30-year-old,who still has aspiration for playing Tests for India.
I was not trying to prove any point to anyone. My aim was to go and enjoy myself out there in the middle. I wanted to have fun, Yuvraj said at the end of the second days play. At this point of time,I dont want to look too far ahead. For me,it is important that I take one match at a time, he said.
However,he was most pleased with the time he spent in the middle- over five hours. Especially,after what I went through,it really felt good that I batted for so long. What makes this double hundred special is that I had spent a good amount of time in the middle which is satisfying.
He also said that he was happy with the way he went about building his innings. Everyone knows that T20 is very different from playing first class cricket. In the T20s,you dont have time to plan but that was not the case over here. I had enough time to plan my innings and that really helped.
In reply,Central Zone finished the day with half the side down after they lost three wickets for 13 runs. Central openers Tanmay Srivastava and Vineet Saxena added 64 runs in 30-odd overs. But there was to be no huge century stand from the openers as Srivastava was run-out after making 23 off 89 balls. Saxenas pain-staking innings of 33 came from 115 balls came to an end when spinner Amit Mishra had him caught by Yuvraj.
The telling blows were struck by medium-pacer Parvinder Awana who removed in-form Rajasthan duo of Ashok Menaria and Robin Bist.
Brief Scores: North Zone 451 all out in 119.2 overs (Yuvraj Singh 208,Shikhar Dhawan 121; M Kartik 4/120,P Kumar 4/92) vs Central Zone 146/5 (V Saxena 33; P Awana 2/29).
East fight back
Orissa all-rounder Biplab Samantrays fine spell kept defending champions East Zone in hunt for a berth in Duleep Trophy final as South were precariously placed at 134 for five at stumps on the second day after bowling out their opponents for 267. Samantray took 3 for 22 in 14.1 overs as South Zone now depend heavily on their last recognized batting pair of left-hander Amit Verma and wicketkeeper CM Gautam who now need to add another 134 runs in order to get first innings lead.
Earlier,Saurabh Tiwary duly completed his century and scored a patient 145 off 267 balls and his partnership of 153 runs for the seventh wicket with Basant Mohanty (58) that helped them reach a decent total after being reduced to 66 for six on the first day.
Brief Scores: East Zone 267 (Saurabh Tiwary 145,Basant Mohanty 58; A Mithun 4/68,S Binny 3/46) vs South Zone 134 for 5 (Robin Uthappa 40,Biplab Samantray 3/22)