West Zone’s sought-after batting stars, including former India captain Ajinkya Rahane and KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer, flattered to deceive as South Zone restricted them to 250 for 8 on the opening day of the Duleep Trophy final.
It was young Gujarat wicketkeeper Het Patel (96 batting) and his 83-run stand for the ninth wicket with Saurashtra veteran Jaydev Unadkat (39 batting) that helped West recover from a precarious 167 for 8 to a safer 250/8 by the end of 90 overs.
But, much was expected of an incredibly strong West’s batting line-up that boasts of Rahane (8), Iyer (37), Sarfaraz Khan (34), Yashasvi Jaiswal (1) and current India A captain Priyank Panchal (7). For South Zone, pacers Basil Thampi (2/42 in 15 overs) and CV Stephen (2/39 in 10 overs) blew away the West top-order within first half an hour.
And then, in-form left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore (3/80 in 32 overs) first choked and then ran through the middle-order before lower-order resistance somewhat brought the West back into the game.
In the morning, Hanuma Vihari won the toss and wanted to make first use of whatever little help the conditions might offer. The Andhra left-arm seamer Stephen answered his captain’s call as Jaiswal was left poking outside the off-stump and caught by keeper Ricky Bhui.
Rahane started with a boundary but old habits came to haunt him as Ravi Teja snapped one in the slip cordon when Kerala speedster Thampi got him to edge one behind the stumps. For right-hander Panchal, Stephen’s delivery straightened a touch after pitching and had the India A captain plumb in-front of the stumps. Once it was 16 for 3, the Mumbai pair of Sarfaraz and Iyer came together and looked like resurrecting the innings with a 48-run stand. While Sarfaraz held one end up, Iyer played his strokes, that included four boundaries and a six.
It was Sai Kishore, who had Iyer caught by Indrajith just when the batter looked set and in the identical manner got Sarfaraz when his 117-ball vigil ended.
The Tamil Nadu left-arm spinner then rocked West with his third scalp as left-hander Mulani was trapped by a delivery that turned back a shade into him. Het, on his part, stemmed the rot, during his 178-ball stay in which there were six boundaries and a six.
He first added 63 for the seventh wicket with Atit Seth (25) before Thampi got a breakthrough with the old ball. Krishnappa Gowtham (1/73 in 26 overs) then had Tanush Kotian before Het-Unadkat defied South for 21 overs. Brief Scores: West Zone 1st Innings 250/8 in 90 overs (Het Patel 96 batting, Jaydev Unadkat 39 batting, R Sai Kishore 3/80, Basil Thampi 2/42, CB Stephen 2/39) vs South Zone.