Vadodara, Feb 13 (UNI) The West Zone versus England Lions Duleep Trophy group match is poised for an exciting finish with the former taking a huge 139-run first innings lead on the penultimate day of their four-day match being played at the Motibaug Palace Cricket Ground here today.
At close, England Lions, for whom even a draw was enough to make it to the final, were struggling at 14 for one, requiring 126 runs to avoid the possibility of an innings defeat.
Trailing by 139 runs, England Lions, who began their second essay with Michael Carberry and first innings century maker skipper Michael Yardy barely 35 minutes before close, suffered the biggest blow when Yardy was trapped leg before off Siddharth Trivedi for two with barely three runs on the board. Carberry and Ed Joyce were at the crease with five runs each.
However, West Zone overnight batsmen--Wasim Jaffer and Ajinkya Rahane stole the show today by notching up 151 (310b, 22x4, 1x6) and 172 (293b, 26x4) runs respectively for a record 342-run second wicket partnership in the Duleep Trophy cricket history.
The duo, who remained united for 402 minutes before falling prey to England Lions medium pacer Steve Kirby in a span of five overs in the post-lunch session, broke the 20-year-old second wicket partnership record of 288 runs set by West Zone's Ansuman Gaekwad and Sanjay Manjrekar in the Duleep Trophy match against Central Zone played at Nagpur in 1987-88.
Resuming at the overnight score of 187 for one, the duo playing with dogged determination took the score to 342 before Kirby had Jaffer caught behind by James Foster in the 102nd over. Five overs later Rahane also departed being trapped leg before by Kirby.
Apart from a scintilating half century by in-form skipper Parthiv Patel (59, 68b, 5x4, 1x6) none of the West players could put up much resistance to England spinners Monty Panesar (3 for 106) and Adil Rashid (3 for 88) as they folded up the innings at 494 in reply to England Lions' 355.
West Zone, who need an outright victory in this match to make it to the final of the championship,have virtually fought their way back into the game by picking up the prized wicket of skipper Yardy at the fag end of the day's play.
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