New Delhi: Anushtup Majumdar and Manish Vardhan sent the North Zone bowlers on a leatherhunt as East Zone completed the formalities on an inconsequential final day of their Duleep Trophy semi-final against North Zone, advancing to the summit clash by virtue of first-innings lead.
East Zone, who have last played a final in the 2005-06 season, will be seeking to win their first zonal first-class championship when they take on Central Zone in the final, to be played at Indore from February 12-16.
Starting the day at 120 for one, Majumdar and Vardhan added 251 runs for the second wicket. North Zone used their part-time bowlers like Rahul Dewan, Mayank Sidhana, Mandeep Singh, and Anushtup and Vardhan feasted on them as they were hit to all corners of the ground.
Vardhan was the first to reach the three-figure mark, off 187 balls, while Anushtup, who now has a hat-trick of centuries (he scored tons against Baroda in Ranji Trophy and then against West Zone in Valsad), reached the milestone off 171 balls.
Vardhan`s five-and-half-hour stay at the crease ended when Pradeep Sangwan, who otherwise had a nightmare of a match, bowled him. Vardhan scored 125 off 246 balls with 15 hits to the fence. Within addition of another four runs, it was Anushtup`s turn to return to the pavilion when Harshal Patel castled the batsman.
The Bengal lad scored 144 in 227 balls with the help of 20 boundaries, having batted for 256 minutes.
East finally declared at 319 for five, setting an impossible target of 348 for the home team.
When umpires called time, North were 126 for three in 33 overs with the winners trying to make up for the number of overs they were short.
Majumdar, who has now scored back-to-back centuries in Duleep Trophy, said,"I was never thinking about whether I would be able to complete a hat-trick of centuries. For me, it has always been focussing on each and every delivery.
Obviously, it`s a good feeling that I have been able to contribute to team`s cause."
Brief Scores: East Zone 315 & 319/5 decl(A Majumdar 145, M Vardhan 125, Sangwan 3/78).
West Zone 287 & 126/3 (Rahul Dewan 45).