Skipper Manoj Tiwary led from the front with an unbeaten century as East Zone managed to score 278 all out against West Zone on the opening day’s play of the four-day Duleep Trophy quarter-final, here today.
Put into bat, East lost early wickets but Tiwary (100 not out) batted well with the tail to give the team total a semblance of respectability as Laxmi Ratan Shukla also made a significant contribution of 31-ball-54.
From the West, new-ball bowler Dhawal Kulkalni (3-62) led from the front to help bowl out the opposition in the final session of play. West were 10 for no loss at stumps.
West Zone skipper Cheteshwar Pujara though will rue the fact that his bowlers could not seize the initiative even after having East on the mat at 116 for five and subsequently 200 for seven at tea.
It was Manoj, who fought gallantly for his 100 off 140 balls that had four boundaries and six huge sixes. He was never bogged down as wickets fell at the other end.
In fact when Shrikant Mundhe (2-56) cleaned up Basant Mohanty (8), Manoj was batting on 91. He carried Ashoke Dinda (0) with him
as he hit a six and then drove Kulkarni towards cover to scamper home for a double as he completed his 19th century in first class cricket in 139 balls.
As luck would have it, Dinda was run-out off the very next delivery to bring curtains to the innings in 75 overs.
At the start, once opener Ramiz Neemat was out cheaply, Natraj Behra (25) and young left-hander Sudeep Chatterjee (37) added 54 for the second wicket. However, four wickets fell cheaply with Wriddhiman Saha (4) and Saurabh Tiwary (16) not able to contribute much.
At five down, Shukla joined Tiwary and started taking bowlers head on. Both took on spinners Yusuf Pathan (2-55) and left-arm Akshay Darekar (1-38) as they were taken to the cleaners by the Bengal duo, who added 69 in 8.2 overs for the seventh wicket before Shukla was dismissed. Shukla hit three
sixes and six fours as he completed his 50 off 28 balls.
After Shukla, Shahbaz Nadeem was also out as East were again tottering at 191 for seven. However Manoj, batting in his 40’s, then upped the ante in Rana Dutta (17)’s company as they added 63 for the eighth wicket.
With true bounce on offer, Manoj hit some audacious pull-shots to Kulkarni, Shardul Thakur (1-59) and Mundhe. West openers Vijay Zol and Parthiv Patel were cautious in their eight overs at the end of the day.
Brief Scores: East Zone 278 all out in 75 overs (Manoj Tiwary 100 no, LR Shukla 54; Dhawal Kulkarni 3/62).West Zone 10/0 (Aditya Tare 2*, Vijay Zol 8*).
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