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Lions romp home

Michael Carberry

Michael Carberry's century paved the way for the Lions' run-chase © Getty Iamges

England Lions took a step closer to reaching the final of the Duleep Trophy after engineering a remarkable five-wicket victory over Central Zone in Vadodara.

The tourists’ hopes of becoming the first overseas side to win India’s premier domestic competition appeared remote after they conceded a first-innings deficit of 115.

But they bowled Central Zone out for 180 in their second innings, and completed their pursuit of 296 to win on the final afternoon of an absorbing four-day encounter.

Though the Lions lost captain Michael Yardy on the fourth morning without addition to their overnight score of 146 for one, Michael Carberry converted his unbeaten 71 into a fine century to carry them to within sight of victory.

He made 112 and Ed Joyce 54, adding a crucial 98 for the third wicket.

They were among three wickets to fall in four overs as the Lions slipped from 244 for two to 249 for five, but Jonathan Trott and Adil Rashid settled any nerves in the visiting dressing room.

Trott finished unbeaten on 28 while Rashid, the Lions’ top-scorer in the first innings with 40, hit 24 not out at quicker than a run a ball to hurry England home.

The Lions’ final group game against West Zone gets under way next Monday, the outcome of which is likely to decide who reaches the five-day final starting on February 19.