With only three wickets remaining after day three, South Zone leads by 248 runs.
West Zone 146 (Shaw 65, Kaverappa 7-53, Vyshak 2-53) is 248 runs behind South Zone 213 and 181 for 7 (Vihari 42, Jadeja 2-27, Sheth 2-38).
Over three days, the Duleep Trophy final has witnessed 189.4 of the 266 available overs (four overs were missed due to a change of innings). However, the game has advanced so swiftly that the likelihood of play continuing into the fifth day seems remote, even though South Zone only holds a tiny advantage. Fast bowlers have been productive throughout the tournament on pitches very dissimilar from the turners we’re used to seeing in India. Because of this, hitters had to concentrate even more, seamers had to bowl longer spells, and spinners had to learn to play a holding role. With none of the sides emerging as clear favorites, this third day in Bengaluru was enjoyable. Vidwath Kaverappa‘s career-best 7 for 53 first-inning performance gave South Zone a 67-run advantage, but West Zone returned to keep themselves in the game. After day three, South Zone had a lead of 248 and were 181 for 7, with Washington Sundar undefeated on 10. Sundar expected to show off his red-ball skills following a protracted run of in-out-in-out due to injuries and form.
As a result, Washington has yet to have any bowling to do in the game. He was unblemished at 22 in the first inning before the bottom order collapsed. He has the unpleasant duty of batting in the lower order to extend the lead in the second innings after being inserted at No. 7 again. South Zone will look back on their performances with a hint of regret. Following West Zone’s addition of 17 to their overnight 129 for 7, which had four of the top six off to starts, they threw it away. The wicket against Dharmendrasinh Jadeja was particularly noteworthy because Kaverappa managed to get one to bend back in and slip through the space between bat and pad before crashing into the stumps. Kaverappa claimed each of the three West Zone wickets that fell on Friday. South was shaken as soon as R Samarth was out to a delivery that scooted low. It took Mayank Agarwal 23 deliveries to debut, and when he did, it was off a lavish cover drive. On 13, he was called out for being caught behind, but it was later reversed, demonstrating the importance of DRS in domestic cricket.
A finer throw from the square leg at the non-striker’s end would have had Agarwal when he was sent back halfway through what they believed to be a single on 23, but he managed to survive a dreadful mix-up with Hanuma Vihari. However, Agarwal eventually ran out of luck and was removed for 35 after dragging a bouncer from Arzan Nagwaswalla to the leg side. But Agarwal was indignant at the choice. He argued that the bowler had already delivered two short balls in the over, and the one that struck him was nearly head-high, above the shoulder. Replays were helpful, but third umpire Saidharshan Kumar wasn’t persuaded that the judgment should be overturned. Nagwaswalla also had the Caribbean-bound Tilak Varma with beauty, the ball jagging back in off a length and cutting him in half to rattle the stumps between Samarth and Agarwal’s dismissals. Varma finished the match with 40 and 3. After lunch, Vihari held things together by playing some beautiful cover drives, keeping his bat tight to his body, and moving behind the line. However, he was caught driving to the slips off Atit Sheth from around the wicket. South had slumped to 95 for 4 at that moment. Before the late collapse, Ricky Bhui and Sachin Baby took a couple of strokes to spark rapid runs. Jadeja beat Bhui in the air and off the field, resulting in Bhui’s LBW after a quick spin, while Sheth cleaned up Baby. With a leading edge, R Sai Kishore gained a reprieve at 2, but it was short-lived as Suryakumar Yadav, who was sprinting back from midwicket, expertly intercepted an attempted slog. Arpit Vasavada, the West Zone’s replacement fielder, soon suffered a nasal injury after colliding with Suryakumar while attempting to make the catch. As Washington closed shop to eke out more runs, there was no more drama throughout the day.
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