England Lions crush Central Zone by 5 wickets

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Vadodara, Feb 6 (UNI) Riding on the brilliance of a scintillating 112 by opener Michel Carberry and his 98-run third wicket partnership with Ed Joyce (54), England Lions registered a thumping five-wicket win over Central Zone on the fourth and final day of their Duleep Trophy match played at the Motibaug Palace Cricket Ground here today.

Chasing a victory target of 296 in 90 overs, the visitors who were 146 for one at stumps yesterday, scored 297 losing five wickets 35 minutes after lunch.

With five points from this outright victory against Central in their opening Group ''B'' league tie, England Lions now lead the table and are in an advantageous position to make it to the finals of the championship from the group as West Zone are on the second spot with three points. The winners will take on West Zone in their last and most crucial league match to be played here from February 11.

Though Central Zone were able to break the overnight 116-run second wicket partnership between Carberry and skipper Michael Yardy (57) through medium-pacer Pankaj Singh without any further addition this morning, Carberry and Joyce frustrated their opponents by putting on solid 98 runs for the third wicket.

Carberry, who was dropped twice on his individual score of 8 and 83 off the bowling of Sanjay Bangar, occupied the crease for 316 minutes to hit 112 studded with 15 fours and a six before he was adjudged lbw to Central Zone medium pacer Sumith Mathur.

Mathur, who returned an impressive figure of 8-2-25-3, brought some excitement to the lack-lustre match by scalping Carbery, Joyce and wicket-keeper James Foster (28) in a span of six runs, but Jonathan Trott (not out 28, 31b) and Adil Rashid (not out 24, 20b) played brilliantly to help their side notch up a convincing 5-wicket victory with 47 overs to spare.

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