Visakhapatnam: Bengal and India pace bowler Ashok Dinda recorded the tenth-best innings bowling figures in Duleep Trophy history by taking seven of the eight South Zone wickets to fall on an engaging final day’s play here on Wednesday. The 28-year-old's 7 for 26 enlivened a day that had a glimpse of ending in with an outright result when it began, but South Zone managed to bat out a draw.
East Zone had already sealed a place in the final after taking a first-innings lead, and Dinda’s effort gave the team additional confidence of retaining the trophy. His performance put him at tenth place in the list of all-time best innings bowling efforts in the Duleep Trophy, an elite grouping in which his name now features twice.
Dinda’s previous best of 8 for 123 was achieved earlier this year in the Duleep Trophy semi-final against North Zone, which East won on the basis of taking a first-innings lead. In that match in Delhi, Dinda’s haul saw North slip from 211 for 4 to 287 all out. On Tuesday, he outdid that with an exceptional display of pace bowling that completely befuddled North Zone.
The Bengal and India pace bowler fell one wicket short of bettering his career-best haul in first-class cricket.
East resumed the fourth and final day on 126 for 6, a lead of 152. The overnight pair of Biblap Samantray (52) and Basanth Mohanty (35) helped get the total to 215 which left South a target of 239. Then it was over to Dinda whose outstanding spell of 11-5-20-7 crippled South and set East on the path for an alarming victory.
In his second over, Dinda bowled Abhinav Mukund for 2; in his fifth, Ramaswamy Prasanna was bowled for 0; next to go with the score at 13 was Robin Uthappa, caught by East skipper Natraj Behera; in the 13th over, Dinda bowled Manish Pandey for 8; first ball of the 16th over, Amit Verma was caught behind for 7; and in his tenth – the 19th of the innings – Dinda removed Stuart Binny and South captain R Vinay Kumar. At tea, South were down and out at 41 for 7 in 23 overs.
After the interval, Dinda was denied the chance to go for all ten when Mohanty had Abhimanyu Mithun lbw at 63 for 8. Dinda bowled four overs in his second spell, which included two maidens, before the match was drawn. In the first innings he had taken 2 for 85 in 19.5 overs. Dinda finished with a match haul of 9 for 112 and with the Man-of-the-Match award.
Brief scores:East Zone 267 and 215 (Biplab Samantray 52, Basanth Mohanty 35) beat South Zone 244 and 85 for 8 in 36 overs (Ashok Dinda 7/26) on first-innings lead
Best innings bowling in the Duleep Trophy
D Mohanty 10/46, East v South, Agartala, Jan 25 2001
BP Gupte 9/55, West v South, Kolkata, Jan 24 1963
A Ayub 8/65, South v North, Kanpur, Oct 15 1987
BS Chandrasekhar 8/80, South v North, Delhi, Oct 29 1966
AB Dinda 8/123, East v North, Delhi, Feb 4 2012
RJ Shastri 8/145, West v North, T’puram, Oct 11 1985
S Singh 8/180, Elite A v Plate B, Bangalore, Mar 27 2003
A Nehra 7/14, North v East, Guwahati, Jan 18 2001
BS Bedi 7/19, North v South, Chennai, Sep 13 1969
AB Dinda 7/26, East v South, Visakhapatnam, Oct 17 2012