Jharkhand batsman Saurabh Tiwary and Orissa all-rounder Basant Mohanty scripted an impressive recovery with an undefeated century-plus stand as East Zone reached 187 for six at stumps on Day I, of their Duleep Trophy semi-final against South Zone.
While Tiwary remained undefeated on 84, Mohanty did well on his part to remain unbeaten on 51 as they put 121 runs in 32.2 overs for the seventh wicket after East were tottering at 66 for six by the 38th over.
Due to overnight rain and wet outfield conditions, only 70 overs of play was possible on the day.
South Zone skipper Ranganath Vinay Kumar opted to field first as he wanted to make full use of any juice that was available on a track that has always over the years been considered as conducive for batting.
Skipper Vinay led from the front as he dismissed left-handed opener Dheeraj Jadhav for 1 while his new-ball partner Abhimanyu Mithun removed pint-sized Manish Vardhan caught by Manish Pandey in the slip cordon.
Stuart Binny who came in as first change also got into the act removing skipper Nataraj Behera (11) and his deputy Anustup Majumdar (4) in quick succession as East were reduced to 21 for four within first 13 overs.
Tiwary, who was batting cautiously was joined by Biplab Samantray (6) but they were pushed to the backoot as South bowlers did a good job during that phase. In 13.1 overs, the duo could add only 17 after which Samantray's 44-ball vigil ended with an edge off Mithun's bowling which was taken by wicketkeeper CM Gautham.
East wicketkeeper Shiv Prakash Gautam then joined his statemate Tiwary and after adding 28 runs became left-arm spinner KP Appanna's first victim as CM Gautham got his 3rd victim behind stumps.
Tottering at 66/6, Mohanty and Tiwary joined hands as they slowly but surely resurrected the innings. Left-hander Tiwary played 162 balls for his unbeaten 84 hitting 10 fours and a six in the process. Mohanty who faced 102 deliveries hit three fours and two huge sixes.
As the day progressed, the conditions became better for batting and the two East Zone players took full advantage of the situation to carry out an impressive repair job.
With not much batting left, East will expect that these two carry on from where they left today in order to put some kind of respectable total which will enable Ashok Dinda and Co to atleast ask a few questions to the formidable South line-up.
MS Vardhan c Pandey b Mithun 5
D Jadhav c Amit Verma b Vinay Kumar 1
Natraj Behera c Vinay Kumar b Binny 11
A Majumdar c Gautam b Binny 4
S Tiwary not out 84
B Samantray c Gautam b Mithun 6
S Gautam c Gautam b Appanna 11
B Mohanty not out 51
Extras: (b 8, lb 5, w 1) 14
Total: (6 wickets; 70 overs) 187
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-15, 3-21, 4-21, 5-38, 6-66
Bowling: Vinay Kumar 14-3-29-1, A Mithun 17-3-43-2, S Binny 13-3-40-2, R Prasanna 2-2-0-0, K Appanna 13-4-30-1 R Aushik Srinivas 6-0-16-0, Amit Verma 2-0-8-0, A Mukund 3-0-8-0.