Chennai: Central Zone expectedly entered the Duleep Trophy cricket final on the basis of the 110-run first innings lead as the semi-final game against South Zone ended in a tame draw here on Tuesday.
Central, resuming their second innings at 378 for five, batted till lunch before declaring at 530 for eight while South survived some anxious moments before finishing on 152 for two when the match was called off at the start of the mandatory overs.
The day's first session saw Robin Bist (160, 268b, 21x4) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (85, 213b, 12x4) extending their sixth-wicket partnership to 212 runs before both fell to non-regular bowlers, off-spinner Manish Pandey and seamer Robin Uthappa, respectively.
Skipper Piyush Chawla, better known for his leg-spinners, showcased his batting prowess with a knock of 53 that in the context of the game and the innocuous bowling, was of no consequence as South had virtually thrown in the towel by then.
In their second innings, South Zone batsmen just about managed to survive on a pitch of inconsistent bounce. Opener Robin Uthappa (10) did not last long as he was trapped plumb in front by seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar while his partner Subramaniam Badrinath and No.3 Dinesh Karthik were far from convincing against the seamers.
However, once the seamers were taken off the attack, Badrinath and Karthik (49, 68b, 9x4, 1x6) batted with greater freedom to put on 85 runs for the second wicket, before the latter fell as he missed a cut off Chawla to be bowled by a ball that barely rose shin high.
Badrinath went on to reach only his second half-century of the season (58 not out, 117b, 6x4, 2x6), while at the other end, Pandey batted well to remain unbeaten on 32 when the stumps were drawn an hour before the scheduled close when mandatory overs were to begin.