Ishant's early strike puts North Zone in command

Chennai, Oct. 7 -- When Amit Mishra missed off-spinner Kamlesh Makvana's straighter delivery, the West Zone bowler jumped in joy with both arms raised, breaking into a celebration at having completed a five-wicket haul.

A dejected Mishra threw a glove on the way back to the pavilion, having missed his half-century by two runs.

The extreme show of emotions on the second day of the Duleep Trophy quarterfinal apart, the momentum refused to tilt in favour of either camp.

North piled on the runs thanks to fighting contributions from the lower order while West bowlers ensured the total would not be insurmountable.

North finished on 484, and at stumps West were six for the fall of one wicket at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Sunday.

Solid partnership

A 92-run partnership between Paras Dogra and Rishi Dhawan helped North build on the good work done by skipper and opener Shikhar Dhawan.

As Dogra had his foot to the pitch of the ball and head still, stroking Samad Fallah to the cover boundary, West appear to be in for another long day in the field.

Dogra then stepped out to left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh and lofted him over mid on for four, pulling the next one dropped short also to the boundary.

At the other end, Rishi did not seem in any trouble either.

Once Harmeet dismissed Rishi and Dogra was trapped in front by Makvana, it was time for former India spinner Mishra to frustrate the bowlers. Once he was dropped by Fallah at mid on off Makvana, Mishra decided to dig in.

Not backing down

As he grew in confidence, cheeky shots like the reverse-sweep came to the fore while Ishant Sharma continued to use his height to plant his front foot forward and block all deliveries.

But that could not save Ishant forever as he fell, not offering a shot to a Makvana delivery that did not turn much.

And once he scalped Mishra on the brink of his 13th half-century, the Saurashtra spinner claimed his sixth five-wicket haul in first-class cricket.

Early setback

Ishant Sharma then struck an early blow for North when the tall paceman dismissed Ajinkya Rahane for a first-ball duck, offering an easy catch to 'keeper Nitin Saini.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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