Baba Indrajith
Baba Indrajith

Indrajith’s aggressive ton helps South Zone take lead

Pandey should have converted his knock into a big score, but off-spinner Tanush Kotian (1/110) castled him two short of fifty.

COIMBATORE: Baba Indrajith’s scintillating hundred and Krishnappa Gowtham’s rearguard 43 took South Zone past West Zone’s first innings total on an interesting second day – Thursday – of the Duleep Trophy final here.

Indrajith’s aggressive 118 off 125 balls (14 fours), along with contributions from Manish Pandey (48 off 69 balls, 4 fours, 2 sixes) and Gowtham (43 off 55 balls, 3 fours, 3 sixes), ensured that South Zone finished the day on 318 for seven in 81 overs – 48 runs clear of West Zone’s first innings score of 270.

South Zone was in a spot of bother at 243 for six, but Gowtham and T Ravi Teja (26) added 63 runs for the seventh wicket in just 16.2 overs, and in the process, helped their team surpass West Zone’s total. However, with the final being a five-day affair, South Zone is still some distance away from ensuring a healthy lead.

At the beginning of South Zone’s response, vice-captain Mayank Agarwal (9) was caught in the slip cordon by Yashasvi Jaiswal off pacer Atit Sheth (3/51). Skipper Hanuma Vihari (25) was then caught plumb in front, with Indrajith being the more dominant batter during their stand of 61. The Tamil Nadu right hander played some gorgeous drives and was equally adept while working the deliveries pitched on his legs.

His 13th first-class hundred had 14 fours in it and the 105-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Pandey put South Zone in the driver’s seat. Pandey should have converted his knock into a big score, but off-spinner Tanush Kotian (1/110) castled him two short of fifty.

Jaydev Unadkat (3/52), the domestic warhorse, did his bit and got a lot of support from Sheth, but once Gowtham launched into Kotian, hitting him for successive sixes, the first innings lead was there for the taking.

At the start of the day, South Zone left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore (5/86 off 35.3 overs) bagged his fifth five-for in first-class cricket and denied Het Patel (98 off 189 balls, 6 fours, 1 six) a memorable century.

BRIEF SCORES: Final: West Zone 270 in 96.3 overs (Het 98, J Unadkat 47*, R Sai Kishore 5/86) vs South Zone 318/7 in 81 overs (B Indrajith 118, M Pandey 48, K Gowtham 43, A Sheth 3/51, J Unadkat 3/52)

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