Chennai: Captain Shikhar Dhawan scored a superb 101 to help North Zone reach 251 for three against West Zone, on the opening day of the four-day Duleep Trophy quarter final match, here, on Saturday.
On all counts, the day belonged to a depleted North Zone, who are playing without the services of their India players, as opener Rahul Dewan, Sunny Singh and wicketkeeper-batsman Nitin Saini batted with utmost caution after Dhawan elected to bat.
Openers Rahul (65) and Shikhar played to their potentials and scored at over three runs an over at the Chepauk. The duo grew in confidence as the game wore on and put up a 100-run opening partnership without much ado.
But soon after the team total reached the 150-mark, in the 52nd over, Dhawan stepped out to drive Kamlesh but missed the ball to be stumped by experienced ’keeper Parthiv Patel. Dhawan’s 101 off 179 balls, contained 15 hits to the fence and his stand with Rahul yielded 164 runs of 57.5 overs.
After sometime, Rahul, who was looking tired due to heat and humid conditions, also made his exit offering a simple catch to Ajinkya Rahane off off-spinner Kamlesh Makwana. His 187-ball innings contained seven hits to the fence.
Sunny and Nitin Singh then combined well and rotated the strikes frequently to keep the West Zone bowlers at bay.
West Zone captain Cheteshwar Pujara shuffled his bowlers and pinned his hopes on Kamlesh. Left-arm medium pacer Samad Fallah finally broke the partnership when Sunny gave a thin edge to Parthiv. He made 46 (off 97 balls, 9x4) and added 76 runs for the third wicket with Nitin, who scored 37 (off 74 balls, 5x4).
Seven bowlers operated for West Zone and Kamlesh was the most successful one, having claimed two for 60. Samad took a wicket giving away 39 runs.