Naman Ojha Double Ton Puts Central Zone in Command vs North Zone in Duleep Trophy semis
Naman Ojha's double century helped Central Zone to 538 on Day 2. In reply, North ended Thursday on 130 for two with skipper Gautam Gambhir on 68 and Yuvraj Singh on 25 battling it out.
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 to help Central Zone amass 538 on Day 2 of the four-day Duleep Trophy semi-final match against North Zone 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, carried on where they left with Ojha and Ashok Menaria (62) taking 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).