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Indrajith ton gives South Zone first-innings lead

South zone 318 for 7 (Indrajith 118, Pandey 48, Gowtham 43, Sheth 3-51, Unadkat 3-52) lead North zone 270 (Het Patel 98, Unadkat 47*, Sai Kishore 5-86) by 48 runs

B Indrajith’s scintillating hundred and K Gowtham’s backroom 43 took South Zone past West Zone’s first-innings total on an interesting second day of the Duleep Trophy final.

Indrajith’s 118 off 125 balls, along with contributions from Manish Pandey (48) and Gowtham (43 off 55 balls), ensured South ended the second day on 318 for 7 – 48 runs ahead of West Zone’s first innings score of 270.

The match proved interesting as South were at 243 for 6 but all-rounders Gowtham and T Ravi Teja (26*) added 62 for the seventh wicket in just 16.2 overs and in the process helped their team to surpass West’s. Total.

But with the final being a five-day affair, South are still some way away from securing a healthy lead, which may not happen with only Teja remaining among the recognized batsmen.

He has Sai Kishore (5 for 86 in 35.3 overs in West’s first innings) for company, but the left-arm spinner would be happier to grab a fifth five and deny youngster Het Patel (98) a chance to the coveted three-digit mark.
Mayank Agarwal bowled his catch but later when he came to bat, he was caught in the slip cordon by Yashasvi Jaiswal off seamer Atit Sheth.

Hanuma Vihari (25), whose Test batting berth is on the line, was then caught in the lead in front after Indrajith had been the dominant partner in their stand of 61.

The Tamil Nadu right-hander played some stunning drives but was equally adept while working the deliveries on the legs.

His 13th first-class hundred featured 14 fours and his 105-run fourth-wicket partnership with the experienced Pandey put South in the driving seat.

Pandey, who had quickly hit four fours and a couple of sixes, could have converted his start into a big score, but Tanush Kotian, Mumbai’s off-spinner, bowled him two under fifty.

The difference between the two sides was how the spinners fared. While Sai Kishore and Gowtham stifled the run-flow for South, the two Mumbai spinners from West – Shams Mulani, the Ranji Trophy’s highest wicket-taker last season, and Kotian gave away 183 runs in 41 overs between them while combining for just one the wicket.

Jaydev Unadkat (3/52) did his bit and also got a lot of support from former India U-19 player Sheth, but when Gowtham started into Kotian and hit him for consecutive sixes, the first-innings lead was there to take.

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