Naman Ojha progressed impressively from his overnight score of 122 to finish with 217 as Central Zone scored a daunting 538 in the Duleep Trophy semifinal being played at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. Central Zone finished Day One on 344 for three and lower-order support from Piyush Chawla, Karn Sharma and Kuldeep Yadav ensured that Ojha did not run out of partners as he neared his double ton.
On Thursday, the wicket-keeper batsman once again cashed in on his good form to score his second double century in the last four innings. The fact that his scores from his last four innings read 101 not out, 219 not out, 110 and 217 means that the selectors will have a close eye on him ahead of an important season, which includes a five-match One-day series against Sri Lanka at home, a four Test series in Australia which will be followed by a tri-series and then the 50-over World Cup
In reply, Gautam Gambhir, one of the contenders for the back-up opener’s slot in the Indian Test team, remained unbeaten on 68 as North Zone finished at 132 for 2. Keeping him company at stumps was Yuvraj Singh who had moved to 25. Virender Sehwag made an impressive start by clobbering six fours in his 33 off 22 but his innings was cut short when lanky fast bowler Pankaj Singh bowled him.
South pummel East
Stuart Binny and Pragyan Ohja shared seven wickets as East Zone were bowled out for just 84 at the Bansi Lal Stadium in Lahli. Following on, East Zone were in trouble at 30 for four with captain Manoj Tiwary out for just 8 .
Brief scores: Central Zone 1st innings 538 (N Ojha 217, J Saxena 110, R Dhawan 3/123, P Rasool 2/89); North Zone 138/2 ( G Gambhir 68 n.o, P Singh 1/25)
South Zone 264 ( R Uthappa 120, LR Shukla 4/40) vs East Zon 84 (S Binny 4/24) and following on 30/4 (S Binny 3/7)