Mahesh Rawat scored a century and combined well with lower-order batsmen to pile on the misery of the North Zone bowlers as Central Zone's Duleep Trophy semifinal ended in a draw in Mohali on Saturday.
Coming into the final day of the match, Central Zone had their place in the summit clash assured on the back of their first innings lead and their batsmen got some good practice under their belt ahead of the final.
Their second innings could not start on Friday after North were bundled out for 457.
Before being bowled out for 312 on Saturday, they made a poor start as their top-order crumbled. Both the openers – Faiz Fazal (0) and Jalaj Saxena (2) and Robin Bisht (2) were back in the pavilion by the sixth over.
Naman Ojha batted for some time but they lost Ashok Menaria for a duck and it was Rawat, who saved the day for them. North bowlers Rishi Dhawan and Parvinder Awana shared those four top-order wickets between them while Perveez Rasool accounted for Menaria.
Rawat scored 116 off 161 balls with the help of 11 shots to the fence three over the ropes.
Karn Sharma (69) and Kudeep Yadav (56) also played well for the Central Zone, keeping the North at bay.
North, chasing 394, ended the day and match at 24 for one in their second innings.