Friday, Apr 05, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
Everything looked rosy for the home team for close to first seven hours in the four-day match, but on the third day, North Zone, Sarandeep Singh in particular, changed the very complexion of the game. The off-spinner was rather unlucky to be dismissed six runs short of his maiden first class century. After he had made an impact as a batsman, he appeared keen to bowl and when he got the chance he bowled 19 overs, picked up five wickets to put North in the driver's seat. It needs another 110 runs for an outright win and pocket eight points.
Sarandeep must get a major share of the credit for turning the match around for his team. The young sardar, who has switched sides, from Punjab to Delhi in order to be treated a front line spinner, has not let `post Kochi' disappointment affect his performances after being dropped from the national team.
His 94 here has to be reckoned as a match-winning effort. It was his near three and a half hour work that really frustrated Central on Wednesday and Thurday and had placed it in a hopeless situation. Sarandeep came into bat after the fall of the sixth wicket at 198, another 170 runs behind Central's first innings total. Things looked bleak for North against a charged up Central bowlers.
Sarandeep did not let the situation overcome him. He straightaway launched an attack that sent a message to the Central bowlers that he was not of the flinching type. He remained unbeaten on 48, a big contribution in the unbroken seventh wicket stand of 90 runs at stumps on the second day.
On Thursday morning, Central claimed the second new ball. Aakash Chopra and Sarandeep's reply was quick. Runs flowed in boundaries as the seventh wicket pair took the score to 348 when Jaiprakash Yadav won an appeal for leg before that terminated Chopra's near seven hour tenure at 143 (23 x 4s). The partnership was worth 150 runs.
Jaiprakash Yadav had Rahul Sanghvi edging to Rohit Jhalani. The ninth wicket stand between Sarandeep and Shakti Singh helped North gain a lead of 39 runs. Jaiprakash Yadav took three wickets. Sarandeep lifted Kulamani Parida over long on to move from 88 to 94 (12 x 4s, 1 x 6). But he was stumped by Jhalani off Parida.
Central lost left-hander Jyoti Yadav in the second over. Gagan Khoda, troubled by a leg injury (Jhalani was his runner), was a mere spectator at the other end. But Vidarbha's Paresh Sutane made a rousing half century with eight 4s and a 6. His exit set off a slide from which Central did not recover.
The major blow came when Jaiprakash Yadav fell a run out victim with his partner Yere Goud looking at the direction of the fielder. Soon Goud came down the pitch to give the charge to Sarandeep but missed the line to be bowled. Devendra Bundela, who played well, was caught behind by Vikram Rathour off Vineet Sharma.
Sarandeep and Sharma mopped up Central's tail in no time. Sarandeep's five-wicket haul made it nine for the match.
Central Zone 1st innings: 368.
North Zone Ist Innings: Aakash Chopra lbw b Jaiprakash Yadav 143,Vikram Rathour (run out) 33, Sangram Singh lbw b Jaiprakash Yadav 10, Shafiq Khan lbw b Pandey 28, Mithun Manhas c Jhalani b Pandey 0, Yashpal Singh b Harvinder 1, Vijay Dahiya b Pandey 33, Sarandeep Singh st. Jhalani b Parida 94, R. Sanghvi c Jhalani b Jaiprakash Yadav 4, Shakti Singh lbw b Jaiprakash Yadav 23, V. Sharma (not out) 0, Extras (b-8, lb-8, nb-22 ) 38, Total 407.
Fall of wickets: 1-62, 2-76, 3-127, 4-137, 5-148, 6-198, 7-348, 8-352, 9-399.
Central bowling: Pandey 22-1-81-3, Harvinder 11-3-49-1, Hirwani 23-9-65-0, Parida 15.5-0-82-1, Jaiprakash Yadav 23-3-94-4, Jyoti Yadav 3-0-5-0, Bundela 2-2-0-0, Goud 1-0-6-0.
Central Zone 2nd Innings: Jyoti Yadav b Shakti Singh 1, Gagan Khoda b Sharma 28, Paresh Sutane c Sharma b Sarandeep 50, Yere Goud b Sarandeep 19, Jaiprakash Yadav (run out) 24, D. Bundela c Rathour b Sharma 24, R. Jhalani c Sangram b Sarandeep 6, Harvinder Singh c Sangram b Sharma 6, K. Parida lbw b Sarandeep 0, Sanjay Pandey c Sangram b Sarandeep 0, N. Hirwani (not out) 4, Extras (b-4, lb-1, nb-8) 13, Total 175.
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-60, 3-104, 4-106, 5-139, 6-141, 7-160, 8-165, 9-171.
North bowling: Sharma 12.2- 2-43-3, Shakti Singh 4-1-19-1, Sanghvi 10-2-47-0, Sarandeep 19-6-49-5, Manhas 4-1-12-0.
North Zone 2nd Innings: Aakash Chopra (batting )18, Vikram Rathour c Jhalani b Jaiprakash Yadav 4, Sangram Singh (batting) 3, Extra (nb-1) 1, Total (for one wkt.) 26.
Fall of wicket: 1-4.
Central bowling: Pandey 5-4-2-0, Jaiprakash Yadav 6-2-14-1, Bundela 1-1-0-0, Hirwani 1-0-1-0, Parida 1-0-8-0.
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