Bengal middle-order batsman Anushtup Majumdar's unbeaten century ensured a slender but important 29-run first innings lead for East Zone against West in a Duleep Trophy quarter-final in Valsad on Sunday.
After East finished their first innings on 343, West Zone were in a spot of bother at 131 for five at stumps, with a lead of 102 runs and five wickets in hand. Kaustubh Pawar (16 batting) and Abhishek Nayar (11 batting) were at the crease.
The hero for East was undoubtedly 27-year-old Anushtup (102 no) who hit his third first-class century and his second successive in a first-class match having scored against Baroda in a Ranji Trophy game last month. His unbeaten knock came off 147 balls including 12 boundaries and a six.
Coming in at 200 for five when Shreevats Goswami (5) was bowled by left-arm seamer Samad Fallah (3/53), Anushtup added 54 runs for the sixth wicket with skipper Nataraj Behera (130, 317 balls, 17x4). Behera's 459-minute vigil finally ended when he was castled by Sandip Maniar.
Shahbaz Nadeem (4) didn't last long and East were in a spot at 259 for seven when Basant Mohanty joined the Bengal lad. The duo added 61 runs for the eighth wicket which helped them cross West's first innings score 314.
Once Mohanty (16, 57 balls, 1x4) became left-arm spinner Akshay Darekar's second victim, Suryakumar Yadav quickly dismissed the remaining two batsmen as East couldn't manage a
In order to enforce an outright result, West batsmen, particularly gloves-man Rohit Motwani (37, 43 balls, 5x4) and first innings centurion Yadav (34, 30 balls, 5x4, 1x6), scored runs at a brisk pace but both were dismissed by Abu Nechim Ahmed (3/31). Ahmed also got rid of rival captain Cheteshwar Pujara (2).
Brief Scores: West Zone 314 & 131/5 (R Motwani 37, S Yadav 34, AN Ahmed 3/31). East Zone 343 (N Behera 130, A Majumdar 102, S Fallah 3/53).