Visakhapatnam: Jharkhand batsman Saurabh Tiwary and Orissa allrounder Basant Mohanty scripted an impressive recovery with an undefeated century-plus stand as East Zone reached 187 for 6 at stumps on day one 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 6 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 by removing skipper Nataraj Behera (11) and his deputy Anustup Majumdar (4) in quick succession as East were reduced to 21 for 4 within first 13 overs.
Tiwary, who was batting cautiously was joined by Biplab Samantray (6) but they were pushed to the backfoot 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 for 6, Mohanty and Tiwary joined hands as they slowly but surely resurrected the innings. Left-hander Tiwary played 162 balls for his unbeaten 84 which was studded with 10 fours and a six. 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 on Sunday in order to put some kind of respectable total which will enable East bowlers to atleast ask a few questions to the formidable South line-up.
Brief Score: East Zone 187 for 6 in 70 overs (Saurabh Tiwary 84 batting, Basant Mohanty 51 batting, Stuart Binny 2/40, A Mithun 2/43) vs South Zone.
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