East retain Duleep title

Bengal's left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena and part-time leg-break bowler Anustup Majumdar shared nine wickets amongst themselves as East Zone beat Central Zone by virtue of 43-run first innings lead to win their second successive Duleep Trophy title.

In reply to East Zone's first innings score of 232, almost all the Central batsmen barring opener Tanmay Srivastava found it difficult to survive on a slow track which also offered appreciable turn as they were shot out for 189 in 83.5 overs. Srivastava made a patient 94 off 252 balls with eight fours and was Iresh's fifth victim as he gave a simple catch to Ishank Jaggi at forward short-leg to become ninth central batsman to get out.

Left-arm spinner Iresh had career-best figures of five for 58 while Majumdar, who had done the star turn with bat during their maiden triumph last season, bamboozled the opposition with his leg-breaks and googlies to end with 4/29 in 7.5 overs. The turning point came when Behra handed the ball to Anustup in the 70th over which tilted the match decisively in East's favour. He immediately got Rawat caught behind with leg-break and his googly got rid of the dangerous Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0). From 147 for four, they were suddenly 165 for seven. There wasn't any looking back for the East after that.

Starting the day at 74 for two, Robin Bist (2) became the first batsman to be dismissed as he got short-pitched delivery from Basant Mohanty which kicked up as Dheeraj Jadhav at gully took the catch. Iresh, got his third victim when scratchy Ashok Menaria pushed at a flighted delivery to be caught at first slip. At 97 for four, Mahesh Rawat (22) joined Srivastava as they added 50 runs in the next 20 overs where East couldn't make any inroads before Anustup's twin strike and Iresh dismissing Jalaj Saxena proved to be vital.

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