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RAJKOT: V.R.V. Singh bowled a snorter at Sourav Ganguly, the ball clanging into the batsman's helmet and lobbing high into the air. The former India skipper shook off the concussion, glinted into the sun and survived till stumps (19 not out, four boundaries) on day one of the Duleep Trophy 2005 opener.
Two overs earlier, Amit Bhandari had greeted him with a bouncer, the ball flying past the target into the wicketkeeper's gloves. The next delivery was smashed imperiously to mid-wicket fence by Ganguly, setting the tone for an engrossing battle when play resumes after East Zone reached 77-4 in reply to North's 178 all out at the Madhavrao Scindia stadium.
V.R.V. Singh's cameo
This game between a focused East captain Ganguly and a competitive North Zone side promises more excitement in the three days ahead on a sporting wicket, offering bounce to fast bowlers with the ability to swing and attitude to take punishment from settled batsmen. V.R.V. Singh, coming in at 10, smashed 46 off 35 balls (six boundaries, two sixes) with a mix of crude and classic strokeplay.
The muscular tailender, considered to be a pace prospect, messed up East plans after Shib Shankar Paul (3-21) and Ranadeb Bose (4-45) had capitalised on North batsmen's shortcoming against outswingers after Ganguly won the toss and elected to field.
The East Zone captain, taking charge of bowling operations in the 10th over of the match, bowled 12.4 overs in four spells off usual run-up, ended up with two tail-end wickets.
He showed no elbow discomfort when forced to bat in the last session of the day, play extended by 90-minutes, watchful against the North bowlers, probing the left-hander's hesistancy against short-pitched deliveries. V.R.V. Singh rattled him once as the helmet came in the way. Ganguly bided his time and counter-attacked with caution.
North Zone 1st innings: Shikhar Dhawan b R. Bose 1, Ravneet Ricky c S.S. Das b Bose 13, Sangram Singh c D. Dasgupta b S.S. Paul 8, Dinesh Mongia c S.S. Das b Paul 4, Pankaj Dharmani lbw S.S. Rao 35,Yashpal Singh c Dasgupta b Bose 25, Sarandeep Singh lbw Paul 26, Amit Mishra c Dasgupta b Bose 8, Gagandeep Singh lbw S. Ganguly 3, V.R.V. Singh c S Nadeem b Ganguly 46, Amit Bhandari (not out) 0. Extras (b-5, lb-3, nb-1) 9. Total (in 57.4 overs) 178.
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-27, 3-31, 4-49, 5-87, 6-109, 7-129, 8-129, 9-171.
East Zone bowling: Shib Shankar Paul 21-3-52-3, Ranadeb Bose
14-6-45-4, Sourav Ganguly 12.4-5-38-2, Shivshankar Rao 8-2-22-1, Shahbaz Nadeem2-1-13-0.
East Zone 1st innings: S.S. Das c P. Dharmani b Gagandeep 0, Arindam Das c Dharmani b Gagandeep 9, Vasanth Saravanan c Sarandeep b A Bhandari 30, Rohan Gavaskar b Bhandari 15, S. Ganguly (batting) 19, L.R. Shukla (batting) 0. Extras (b-2, nb-2) 4. Total (for four wickets in 30 overs) 77.
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-27, 3-54, 4-59.
North Zone bowling: Gagandeep 12-4-18-2, Amit Bhandari 12-4-41-2, V.R.V. Singh 6-2-16-0.
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