Bangalore : Rahul Dravid and Dinesh Karthik cracked centuries to take South Zone to a commanding position against Central Zone on the third day of the Duleep Trophy cricket tie here Saturday.
South Zone were 345 for six at stumps after bowling out Central Zone for 326 which gave them a slender three-run first innings lead at the M. Chinnaswany Stadium here.
Dravid (118) and Karthik (108 not out) took South Zone to safety after they were reduced to three for 24.
Resuming at 326 for nine, Central Zone required four runs to take a first innings lead but Lakshmipathi Balaji rattled Umesh Yadav’s stumps for a duck with the second ball of the day to dash their hopes.
South Zone’s second innings had a devastating start. South’s top-order had crumbled in the first innings and a collapse was on the cards again as Central’s new-ball pair of Pankaj Singh and Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck in tandem.
Bhuvneshwar dismissed Robin Uthappa (16) and Pankaj bowled Abhinav Mukund in the next over. Subramaniam Badrinath edged one behind off Bhuvneshwar.
South captain V.V.S Laxman was unable to bat due to an ankle injury and Dravid had to shoulder the responsibility.
Dravid was caught off a no-ball early in his innings and he made full use of the chance.
He found support from Arjun Yadav (68), who hit 11 fours in his 124-ball stay. The duo added 154 before Yadav was stumped off Murali Kartik.
Karthik, riding on his luck-filled first innings century, joined Dravid and looked determined to score a big knock.
Karthik played a composed knock, hitting 17 fours in 119 balls. He became the sixth batsman to score centuries in both innings in a Duleep Trophy tie.
Dravid stroked 19 fours in his 218-ball innings. Dravid and Karthik added 125 before the former India captain was caught behind off Bhuvneshwar.