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Ganguly to play for India A vs NZ A

October 02, 2008 18:56 IST

Former captain Sourav Ganguly will be the cynosure of all eyes when he takes field in the second and final four-day match between India A and New Zealand A in Chennai on Friday.

The otherwise low-profile encounter has assumed significance with Ganguly, out of cricket for over a month, given a place in India A squad to gain some match practice before the first Test against Australia on October 9.

Ganguly, included in the 15-member squad for the first two Tests against Australia, had asked his inclusion in the India A team after being left out of the Irani Trophy.

India A, already on a high after their thumping 129-run win in the first match against the same opponents on Wednesday, would also be strengthened by the presence of left-arm pacer R P Singh and leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who was in the India A team before his call-up in the national squad.

The hosts had put up a good team effort in their first match and they will have the edge over the largely inexperienced New Zealand team for a clean sweep in the second match.

But the continuing inconsistency of the batsmen, particularly the poor run by the openers from the preceding tri-series, is still a cause of worry and Ganguly could provide the fillip here with his vast experience.

Given the failure of opener Shikhar Dhawan in both the innings of the first match, Ganguly might be considered for the slot or could be in his usual position at number six.

India A coach Dav Whatmore had said after the end of the first match that there would be changes in the team.

The batting line up looks strong with captain Suresh Raina hitting form with a sparkling 146 in the second innings of the first match which laid the platform for India's win.

M Vijay, who scored 45 and a half-century in the match, and middle order mainstay Yusuf Pathan and wicketkeeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha have given a decent performance so far.

In the bowling department, paceman Ashok Dinda has been impressive, generating good pace to claim seven wickets, including five for 60 in the second essay.

With R P Singh likely to replace Sudeep Tyagi, who ended up with a match tally of just two wickets, the bowling attack will be potent.

Mishra, who took three vital wickets on Wednesday for a match tally of five, received support from co-spinner Mohnish Parmar as the bowlers defended modest first innings total of 240 for a 18-run lead and then bowled out the Kiwis for 225.

The visitors' batting has revolved around all-rounder Aaron Redmond, captain Peter Fulton and James Marshall, but none of them could post big scores and perished against the Indian attack just when they were required to stay at the crease.

The Kiwis have to resist the tendency to lose quick wickets. The hot and humid weather conditions have added to their woes.

New Zealand bowlers did a fair job in containing India A in the first innings in the first match thanks largely to a career best six-wicket haul by off-spinning all-rounder Nathan McCullum and medium pacer Brent Arnel.

New ball bowlers Michael Mason and Trent Boult have not been very effective and the team might go for a change and bring in Lain O'Brain or left-arm fast bowler Bradley Scott.

Teams:

India A: Suresh Raina (captain), Sourav Ganguly, Jaydev Shah, M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Sahil Kukreja, Cheteshwar Pujara, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (w/k), Ashok Dinda, Dhawal Kulkarni, Sudeep Tyagi, R P Singh, Amit Mishra, Pradeep Sangwan, Mohnish Parmar.

New Zealand A: Peter Fulton (captain), Brent Arnel, Neil Broom, Grant Elliott, Lain O'Brien,  Martin Guptill, Greg Hay, Nathan McCullum, James Marshall, Michael Mason, Trent Boult, Aaron Redmond, Bradley Scott, Reece Young (w/k), BJ Watling.

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