Responsible batting by young Tamil Nadu all-rounder Baba Aparajith and talented Karnataka batsmen Manish Pandey to guide South Zone to 213 for three at stumps on the first day of the Duleep Trophy quarterfinal match against West Zone at the Chepauk here on Thursday.
Due to inclement weather, only 54 overs of play was possible on the day.
It was an unbroken partnership of 161 between Aparajith (93 batting), who is just seven short of his second first-class century and Pandey (81 batting) that took South to a position of safety after they were reduced to 52 for three in 16 overs.
Akshath Reddy (18), who was in fine form during the NKP Salve Challenger Series was trapped leg before by left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat while pacer Murtuza Vahora got one to skid through and rattle Abhinav Mukund's (4) leg stump.
Young Lokesh Rahul (6) was trapped leg before by off-spinner Yusuf Pathan as the South innings was in total disarray.
Aparajith and Pandey took a stock of the situation and then counter-attacked the opposition bowlers to step up the run-rate. They faced 38 overs on the day and were scoring at a run-rate in excess of 4.6 per over.
Aparajith faced 131 deliveries to hit 11 boundaries in the process while Pandey had eight fours and a big six to his credit in the 118 balls that he faced.
Both attacked the left-arm spin duo of Akashay Darekar (0/50 in 11 overs) and Rakesh Dhurv (0/54 in 11 overs).
Brief Scores: South Zone 1st Innings: 213/3 in 54 overs (Baba Aparajith 93 batting, Manish Pandey 81 batting, Murtuza Vahora 1/20, Yusuf Pathan 1/36, Jaydev Unadkat 1/36) vs West Zone.