HYDERABAD, Oct 14 (PTI): Yuvraj Singh made a brilliant comeback into first-class arena as he smashed an unbeaten century for North Zone against Central on the first day of a semi-final match in the Duleep Trophy here.
At stumps, North were in commanding position having scored 346 for 4, riding on Yuvraj’s superb unbeaten 133 while skipper Shikhar Dhawan also made his presence felt with an innings of 121.
The innings today will certainly end any doubts whatsoever about Yuvraj’s fitness and his ability to withstand the rigours of longer version of the game after recovering from rare germ cell cancer.
He played only 152 deliveries during his knock and hit 20 boundaries and two huge sixes off discarded India veteran Murali Kartik.
Both sixes were sent soaring over deep mid-wicket and the second one saw the talented left-hander reach three-figure mark. This is Yuvraj’s 19th first-class century but certainly one he would remember for a long time to come.
There were no demons in the 22-yard strip at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Uppal and Yuvraj didn’t for once looked like in any sort of trouble as he kept on punishing the Central bowlers.
Credit should also be given to Dhawan who scored his second Duleep Trophy century of the season. His 200-ball innings contained 14 hits to the fence and, more importantly, added 160 runs with his senior partner for the third wicket in just over 20 overs.
Such was Yuvraj’s dominance that he came to bat only in the 53rd over of the innings which was well after lunch but took on the bowlers from the very beginning.
The trio of Praveen Kumar (2/72), Bhuvenshwar Kumar (0/63) and Rituraj Singh (0/67) were treated with equal disdain while Kartik was singled out for special treatment.
Brief Score: North Zone 346/4 (Yuvraj Singh batting 133, Shikhar Dhawan 121, Praveen Kumar 2/72) vs Central Zone.