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    North virtually in Duleep semi-final

    Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra grabbed three wickets each as North Zone shot out West for 164 in their first innings on Day 3.

    Chennai: Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra grabbed three wickets each as North Zone shot out West Zone for a mere 164 in their first innings on the third and penultimate day to virtually seal a semi-final berth in the Duleep Trophy here on Monday.

    Ishant (4 for 29), who had dismissed Ajinkya Rahane on Sunday, ripped through the opposition top order while Mishra (3 for 41) did the same by tormenting the lower order as West Zone were all out for 164 after facing 70.4 overs soon after tea at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

    Rishi Dhawan chipped in with two wickets while Vikas Mishra took one wicket. After taking a huge 320-run first innings lead, North were 30 for no loss in their second innings after facing 14 overs before close of play on Monday. Rahul Devan and Shikhar Dhawan were batting on 20 and 8 respectively.

    With the match to be decided on first innings lead with just a day left, North have virtually gained the last four place. North last won the trophy in 2007-08, beating West by six wickets in Mumbai. Six West batsmen failed to cross the double figure mark and only wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel (51), who was inducted into the team as the 16th man, and Bhushan Chauhan (35) scored anything substantial.

    Parthiv's 51 came from 106 balls and was studded with eight fours. He shared 72 runs for the fifth wicket in 24.2 overs with Chauhan who consumed 137 balls for his 35. Watched by national selection committee chairman Sandip Patil and other members Roger Binny and Vikram Rathore, Ishant was impressive with his bowling as he generated a fair amount of pace.

    Ishant's good-length deliveries rattled the West batsmen, including captain Cheteswar Pujara whom he dismissed LBW for just 11.