Valsad: Skipper Nataraj Behera led from the front with an unbeaten century as East Zone reached 183 for four at stumps in reply to West Zone's 314 in a Duleep Trophy quarterfinal match, here on Saturday.
East still need 132 runs in order to get the vital first- innings lead which will ensure a semi-final berth. Behera was unbeaten on 102 in company of wicketkeeper-batsman Shreevats Goswami (1 batting). The only recognised batsman left after them is Anushtup Majumdar of Bengal.
Behera's unbeaten knock comprised of 13 boundaries in 246 deliveries. His century was in complete contrast to the innings that Mumbai youngster Suryakumar Yadav played on the first day.
He never took any undue risk en route to his third first-class century and in the process had couple of fruitful partnerships. The first one was for 98 runs with Dheeraj Jadhav (133 balls, 4x4, 1x6). The pair batted sedately after Gujarat seamer Ishwar Chaudhary got rid off the other opener Manish Vardhan (1) caught by glovesman Rohit Motwani.
The Behera-Jadhav pair batted for more than 45 overs before Saurashtra seamer Sandip Maniar induced an edge off the veteran opener for Motwani to take his second catch. The wicketkeeper got his third scalp when left-arm medium pacer Samad Fallah dismissed vice-captain Ishank Jaggi (0).
From 99 for one, the mini slump saw them placed at 100 for three when Behera's statemate Biplab Samantray joined him.
The duo then added valuable 80 runs for the fourth wicket in 27.4 overs. Samantray's contribution was 37 off 78 balls which included five hits to the fence. It was left-arm spinner Akshay Darekar who sent the Orissa all-rounder back.
In the morning, Ashok Dinda (4/85) polished off the tail taking two of the remaining three wickets. Dinda is now the highest wicket-taker in the domestic season with 41 scalps compared to Taduri Sudhindra's 40 wickets.
Brief Scores: West Zone 314 (S Yadav 134, C Pujara 55, A Dinda 4/85). East Zone 183/4 ( N Behera 100 batting).