Devastating bowling by medium pacer Jai Prakash Yadav, who clinched a five-wicket haul, helped Central Zone wreck North Zone in their first innings for a paltry 104 on the opening day of the five-day Duleep Trophy final at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur, on Tuesday.
Yadav grabbed 5 for 26 while left-arm medium pacer Rudra Pratap Singh and left-arm slow bowler Murali Kartik grabbed two wickets apiece as North, after being put into bat, were bowled out in 50.3 overs.
Reetinder Singh Sodhi, who made a plucky 27 on a lively track, was the lone North batsman to show some fight on a day marred by a brief rain interruptions.
In reply, Central were 94 for 4 in 27.4 overs, with opener Naman Ojha (55) hitting a valuable half-century.
But North could take some comfort from the fact that the rival team's key batsman and captain Mohammad Kaif (27) is already back in the dressing room.
Medium pacer Gagandeep Singh got rid off Kaif as well as India discard Sanjay Bangar, who failed to score, to return figures of 2 for 36.
Earlier, North never recovered after a shock start in which they slid to 14 for 3 and then 34 for 5.
Sangram Singh (14) and Manvinder Singh Bisla (13) were the next two best contributors to the meagre North total as their batsmen, including opener Aakash Chopra, skipper Dinesh Mongia and seasoned Mithun Manhas, struggled to cope up with the seam-friendly conditions.
The most notable partnership of the North innings was the one for the sixth wicket between Sodhi and Bisla which rallied them briefly from a tottering 34 for 5 to 77 for 6 before a clutter of wickets at the end.
Central's reply started on a disastrous note when opener Bangar fell to a catch in the slip cordon off Gagandeep.
Ojha, who had a good day behind the stumps taking three catches and also effecting a stumping, put on 62 runs with his skipper Kaif before the latter too was dismissed by Gagandeep.
Suresh Raina joined the 21-year-old Ojha and the third wicket pair seemed to have things under control when Sodhi sent back the latter at the team's score of 93.
Medium pacer Amit Bhandari struck another blow soon after by getting rid off Raina to bring North back into the match before stumps.
North Zone first innings: 104 all out (J P Yadav 5 for 26, R S Sodhi 27)
Central Zone first innings: 94 for 4 (N Ojha 55, M Kaif 28, Gagandeep Singh 2 for 36)