Cricket smarts was in view; so were rain, application and skill.
The truncated opening day of this Duleep Trophy quarterfinal between North and East Zone at the CAP ground saw the latter, inserted under cloudy conditions, progressing to 179 for three on day one.
The smooth stroking Virat Singh was batting on a 43 (87b, 6×4) of composure and flair and skipper Manoj Tiwary was on nine.
Earlier, opener Sudip Kumar Gharami (68, 137b, 10×4) impressed with his patience and methods.
Inclement weather meant the match got underway only after lunch.
This was a pitch where you had to accumulate runs, be patient and scoring opportunities would gradually open up.
There was some lift for both Navdeep Saini and Siddharth Kaul and batting required application.
Riyan Parag is a new age batsman adept with his Twenty20 skills, but was sucked out by an away swinger from Saini.
Gharami is a well-organised batsman who has strokes on both sides and plays the ball on its length. Gharami and Anustup Majumdar added 79 for the second wicket.
Majumdar defended off either foot, drove and cut with confidence. A seasoned customer, Majumdar (47, 64b, 7×4) batted with wristy strokes and timing.
But then, he perished to clever tactics from the North. Observing Majumdar did not quite keep the ball down on a couple of occasions when flicking, North had a fielder stationed at a short mid-wicket.
For the plan to work, Kaul had to pitch the ball on middle and leg and just short of a fuller length. The trap was laid and Majumdar’s uppish flick was picked up.
The resolute Gharami eventually fell, caught and bowled to medium-pacer H.J. Rana’s change of speed.
The free-flowing Virat, blending application with crisp shots, and skipper Tiwary, have unfinished business.
East Zone — 1st innings: Sudip Kumar Gharami c & b Rana 68, Riyan Parag c Malhotra b Saini 8, Anustup Majumdar c Sindhu b Kaul 47, Virat Singh (batting) 43, Manoj Tiwary (batting) 9, (Extras) 4; Total (for three wkts. in 53 overs): 179
Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-97, 3-156.
North Zone bowling: Kaul 12-3-41-1, Saini 12-3-41-1, Jagjit Singh 11-1-27-0, Sindhu 7-1-28-0, Narang 7-0-29-0, Rana 5-2-11-1.
Toss: North Zone.