Lions fall short
England Lions failed in their bid to reach the Duleep Trophy final after losing to West Zone by nine wickets in Vadodara.
The Lions, needing only to avoid defeat to advance in India’s premier domestic competition, entered the crucial fourth day 125 runs in arrears with nine wickets intact.
Required to bat the majority of the final day’s allocation of 90 overs, Michael Yardy’s side’s resistance lasted until shortly before tea when they were dismissed for 165, leaving the West team to score only 27 runs for victory.
Off-spinner Yusuf Pathan, brother of India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, did the majority of the damage with five wickets while seamer Siddharth Trivedi claimed four.
Having lost captain Yardy - whose 169 represented almost half of the tourists’ first-innings effort of 355 - on the third evening, the English second string were in need of prolonged partnerships.
But Middlesex’s one-day international Ed Joyce was offered little support in hitting a disciplined 66.
Opener Michael Carberry, whose hundred on the same Moti Bagh ground was the cornerstone of an admirable chase of 296 against Central Zone last week, succumbed lbw to Pathan in the 12th over of the morning.
That initial breakthrough was followed within an hour by the dismissals of Jonathan Trott and James Foster and when Joyce was out, sweeping at Pathan, the Lions were 103 for five, with 50 overs still to bowl.
Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid continued his fondness for late-order defiance to take the Lions into the lead but was last out for 39, after failing to clear mid-on off Pathan.
The deterioration of the pitch, however, meant it took 14.2 overs to knock off England’s total with Graham Onions claiming the scalp of teenager Ajinkya Rahane.
West Zone will now face North Zone in the five-day final at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, starting next Tuesday.