New Delhi: Speedster Parvinder Awana grabbed six for 84 to help North Zone come right back into the match at stumps, on the second day of their Duleep Trophy quarter-final against East Zone.
Starting the day at 258 for four, a disciplined effort by Awana saw East Zone lose wickets in a heap to get all out for 315. North were 162 for three at stumps still needing 154 runs to gain the all-important first innings lead.
As of now, North look firm favourites to to get the first innings lead with Mayank Sidhana (30 batting) and Paras Dogra (33 batting) looking well set. The first hour will certainly be important but with the likes of Rajat Bhatia, Punit Bisht and Amit Mishra to follow, North's chances of making it to the title round is more compared to their rival.
It was Awana who bowled according to a plan and used the second new ball to good effect as East Zone lost six wickets for addition of only 57 runs. Knowing that the new kookaburra ball doesn't help the seamers after a certain point of time, Awana's lion-hearted effort was even more praiseworthy.
Wriddhiman Saha (124, 196 balls, 15x4, 1x6) started in right earnest hitting a few spanking boundaries but his partner Biplab Samantray (4) was back in the hut being bowled.
Saha's knock of little over four and half hour came to an end when he was clean up by Awana to claim his third victim.
In-form Anushtup Majumdar (24) tried his best but ran out of partners as East Zone's total of 315 certain looks inadequate on a strip that is helpful for batting.
When North batted, Haryana lad Rahul Dewan (2) was struck on the backfoot by a Basant Mohanty. Mohanty had miserly figures of 18-12-14-1 but that was more to do with the number of deliveries that batsmen left alone. Ashok Dinda bowled with a lot of fire but also tried to bowl too many short-pitched deliveries.
Mandeep Singh (55, 94 balls, 8x4, 1x6) and senior opener Shikhar Dhawan (40, 133 balls, 4x4) added 86 runs for the second wicket. While young Mandeep was often seen trying to play the pull shot with limited results, Dhawan's stay at the crease was a painstaking one. He failed to get going and it didn't help his team's cause either.
It was Dinda (2/62) who struck twin blows by first trapping Mandeep leg before and then had Dhawan flashing at a wide delivery to be caught by Wriddhiman Saha. However Siddhana and Dogra batted with lot of composure during their unbroken 5-run partnership.
Brief Scores: East Zone 315 (W Saha 124, I Jaggi 86, P Awana 6/84, R Bhatia 3/45). North Zone 162/3 (M Singh 55, S Dhawan 40, A Dinda 2/62).