All-rounder Stuart Binny tormented the East Zone batsmen with his controlled swing bowling as they lost as many as 14 wickets with South Zone marching towards a comprehensive innings victory at the end of second day in the semi-final of the Duleep Trophy.
Starting the day at 236 for nine, South's first innings ended at 264 with last pair of HS Sharath (6 no) and Abhimanyu Mithun (23) batting out the first hour.
The South bowlers then came out all guns blazing to skittle East for a paltry 84. Binny was the pick of the bowlers with figures of four for 24 from 13 overs.
With a huge lead of 180 runs, South captain R Vinay Kumar decided to enforce the follow-on but East didn't fare any better in the their second essay, tottering at 30 for 4 when stumps were drawn.
With 150 runs still needed to avoid an innings defeat, the manner in which Manoj Tiwary and company batted doesn't inspire confidence of highest order. Binny again turned out to be the wrecker-in-chief as his dibbly-dobbly swing bowling got him 3/7 in five overs.
The India all-rounder now has match-figures of 7/31 with two days of play still left.
Pragyan Ojha, bowling wearing half sleeves with an elbow potective gear, got 3/9 as he polished off the tail.
On the first day, Laxmi Ratan Shukla exploited the conditions hitting the right length on a pitch that had a fair amount of green and now it was Binny's turn to stick to the basics, as he bowled in good areas and got the ball to move both ways.
The East Zone batsmen failed to show positive intent -- even senior players like Manoj Tiwary (4 and 8) was pushing hard at away-going deliveries, only to be snapped up by slip fielders.
Veteran batsmen Laxmi Ratan Shukla and talented southpaw Sudeep Chatterjee were all guilty of not getting to the pitch of the moving deliveries.
Binny pitched his deliveries on a drivable length and got it to move as none of the batsmen in the East Zone top-order were ready to cover the swing and ended up giving Manish Pandey, Lokesh Rahul and Karun Nair, some serious slip catching practice.
Only Wriddhiman Saha (0) was distinctly unlucky in the first innings as he suffered due to a howler from umpire Paschim Pathak, who had a bad day in office giving two poor decisions.
It was a fuller delivery from Binny outside the off-stump and Saha was beaten trying to push at it. The replays indicated that the ball was not even near to the bat and ‘keeper Dinesh Karthik's appeal was also muted but Pathak raised his finger.
None of the East batsmen crossed 20 and seven of them failed to reach even double digits in the first innings. Rana Dutta (17) was the highest scorer.
At the fag end of the day during the second innings, it seemed that the problems were not sorted out as Manoj, Sudeep were dismissed again fishing in the slip cordon.
Govind Podder (4) played a Binny delivery thinking that it would come in but it straightened after pitching knocking the off-stump back.
Rana Dutta (0) got a debatable leg-before decision as the ball from Binny looked like clearly missing the leg-stump.
South Zone 1st Innings 264 in 101.1 overs (Robin Uthappa 120, LR Shukla 4/40)
East Zone 1st innings 84 all out in 47.4 overs (Stuart Binny 4/24, Pragyan Ojha 3/9)
(follow/on*) 30/4 in 15 overs (Stuart Binny 3/7).
Central Zone reign supreme after Ojha double ton
Wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha continued from where he left on the opening day to notch up his second double ton in first-class cricket this year and help Central Zone amass 538 on Day 2 of the four-day Duleep Trophy semi-final match against North Zone, in Mohali on Thursday.
In reply, North ended Thursday on 130 for two with skipper Gautam Gambhir on 68 and Yuvraj Singh on 25 battling it out.
But the day belonged to Ojha, who started on his overnight score of 122 to smash 217 runs -- his second-highest first-class score after his unbeaten 219 against Australia A in July.
Madhya Pradesh batsman Ojha, who has played an ODI for India, struck 23 boundaries and 3 sixes in his seven-hour eight minutes stay at the crease to give the North bowlers a hard time.
In his last four first-class innings, Ojha, 31, has accumulated an astounding 647 runs, improving his over-all average to around 43.
Starting on the overnight score of 344 for three, Central Zone, who had elected to bat saw Ojha and Ashok Menaria (62) take the momentum forward.
If his third-wicket partnership with Jalaj Saxena (110) was the highlight of the opening day then Ojha's fourth-wicket stand with Menaria dominated proceedings on the second day.
Central's lower-order also contributed, with skipper Piyush Chawla (34), leg-spinner Karn Sharma (27) and debutant chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav (21) coming up with useful contributions.
Medium-pacer Rishi Dhawan (3-123) and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (3-150) were the pick of the North bowlers while pace spearhead Samiullah Beigh (2-100) and off-spinner Parvez Rasool (2-89) picked up 2 wickets each.
Responding to the huge score, North lost early wickets with opener Jiwanjot Singh (2) and Virender Sehwag (32) departing early.
Jiwanjot was trapped lbw off Ishwar Pandey (1-37) in the sixth over of the innings, when the score was 9, while Sehwag, who struck 6 fours in his 22-ball stay, was cleaned up by new-ball bowler Pankaj Singh (1-25) after stitching a 51-run partnership with fellow Delhi opener Gambhir.
Standing in as captain for Harbhajan Singh, who missed the game due to viral fever, Gambhir then stuck it out with Yuvraj -- unbeaten 70-run partnership -- to keep North in the hunt.
North still trail by 408 runs in the first innings with 208 more required to save the follow-on.
Central Zone 344/3 in 90 overs (Naman Ojha 217, Jalaj Saxena 110, Ashok Menaria 62, Rishi Dhawan 3-123, Yuzvendra Chahal 3-150).
North Zone 130/2 (Gautam Gambhir 68 not out, Yuvraj Singh 32 not out; Pankaj Singh 1-25, Ishwar Pandey 1-37).