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India 'A' easily beat Seniors
Ashish Magotra and Faisal Shariff |
September 10, 2003 19:01 IST
Last Updated: September 10, 2003 22:45 IST
India 'A' scored a convincing 27-run victory over India Seniors in the opening match of the TVS Salve Challenger Trophy.
Chasing 276, India Seniors got off to the worst possible start, losing their top four wickets for just 86 runs.
Aavishkar Salvi and Irfan Pathan Jr. bowled excellent opening spells and choked India Seniors' riposte.
Salvi claimed the wicket of Parthiv Patel, while a mix-up between skipper Sourav Ganguly and opener Ambati Rayudu saw the latter return to the pavilion after scoring two runs.
Ganguly and Laxman briefly raised hopes of a fightback before the India captain, who scored 27 off 35 balls, holed out to Pathan, with Salvi claiming the catch at fine leg.
India Seniors were 39 for 3 and the total of 276 seemed unattainable.
Sachin Tendulkar, returning for his first competitive match since the World Cup, swung the ball prodigiously and claimed the wicket of VVS Laxman, who seemed to be growing in confidence. The delivery from Tendulkar kept low on an uneven track and trapped him plumb in front for 30 off 40 balls.
At 86 for 4, India 'A' virtually had the match in their pocket. A fighting century partnership between Hemang Badani and Sanjay Bangar, who batted patiently on a wicket where the ball refused to come on to the bat, could not save the Seniors.
Their 114-run partnership for the fifth wicket ended after Badani, trying to force the pace against Salvi, top-edged a catch to 'keeper Ajay Ratra after a well-compiled 73 off 79 balls.
Bangar tried to make a fight of the match but failed to keep up with the asking rate of nine runs an over. He was dismissed for 66 off 95 deliveries, which had a six and four boundaries.
Kumble picked three wickets while Salvi claimed two, but it was Tendulkar's unchanged spell of ten overs in the middle which closed the doors on India Seniors. His ten overs cost 28 runs and the prized wicket of Laxman.
Sriram, Gavaskar prop India 'A'
Earlier, the September 10-14 tourney got off to a rousing start, with India 'A' piling on 276 for 7 after skipper Anil Kumble elected to bat. Only a superb spell of fast bowling by India Seniors' fast bowler L Balaji prevented the 'A' team from getting more runs.
But the going had not looked as good at the start when India 'A' lost three quick wickets in the face of accurate bowling by the Tamil Nadu bowler.
Sachin Tendulkar, playing his first competitive match in five months, and Gautam Gambhir opened the batting for India 'A' but the latter was soon undone by a fine piece of bowling by Balaji.
After maintaining strict control over his line and length, Balaji bowled a slightly wide delivery and Gambhir, who had been struggling a bit, drove with negligible footwork and offered a straightforward chance to Ambati Rayudu at backward point. India 'A' were 20 for 1 at this stage.
Tendulkar should have been heading back to the pavilion soon after, when a Balaji delivery smashed through his defence, but the umpire incorrectly ruled that Balaji had bowled a no-ball.
The master batsman was clearly struggling for form in the early stages of his innings and the rust that had gathered in the off-season showed.
Wasim Jaffer, the Mumbai opener, was in next. Fresh from a double century on the India 'A' tour of England, he looked in sublime touch. He started off with a streaky four but then unleashed three glorious boundaries. But, as it so often happens in cricket, he fell attempting another one. Balaji was the bowler again as V V S Laxman went through the motions at slip to reduce India 'A' to 43 for 2.
Balaji and Laxman combined again to send Kaif back to the pavilion with the score reading 66 for 3.
S Sriram stepped in to fill the breach left by Kaif's dismissal and did not disappoint. His innings was a superb mix of well-judged singles and the odd boundary. With Tendulkar, he put on 58 to guide India 'A' into slightly calmer waters.
Tendulkar, meanwhile, seemed to be finding his touch in the middle. A few well-struck boundaries had the crowd screaming for more. But just when he was looking to break the shackles, he was deceived by Harbhajan Singh in the flight and the young Sikh claimed a brilliant catch off his own bowling.
Thereafter, Sriram (77) and Rohan Gavaskar (79 not out) played brilliantly to add 126 for the fifth wicket.
Gavaskar was slow to start off, but in the latter part of his innings matched Sriram stroke for stroke as the duo set about dismantling the India Seniors' attack. Sriram outlined his India credentials with a superbly composed knock. Dinesh Mongia's non-performance in the recent matches has opened up a spot in the middle-order and the Tamil Nadu batsman showed that he can provide solidity to the middle order. Hooks, drives and well-judged singles were the order of the day in his knock.
Rohan Gavaskar has matured without doubt. His performances in the domestic one-dayers were very impressive and he carried that form into the Challenger Series. He can provide the Indian team with another option, as he bowls slow, gentle left-arm spin, though today it was his batting that stole the show.
For the India Seniors, all the damage was done by Balaji, who finished with five wickets for 50 runs in 10 overs. The Tamil Nadu fast bowler's thin frame is not a correct indicator of the effort he puts into his bowling. He constantly troubled the opposition and, at the moment, is ahead of the chasing pack that includes Aavishkar Salvi and Irfan Pathan Jr.
G Gambhir c A Rayudu b L Balaji 7
S Tendulkar c & b Harbhajan Singh 45
W Jaffer c VVS Laxman b L Balaji 16
M Kaif c VVS Laxman b L Balaji 11
S Sriram c S Ganguly b L Balaji 77
R Gavaskar not out 79
A Ratra run out (A Rayudu) 0
R Powar b L Balaji 8
A Kumble run out (H Badani) 2
I Pathan not out 7
Extras: (b:1, lb:3, nb:10, w:10) 24
Total: (for 8 wickets, 50 overs) 276.
Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-43, 3-66, 4-111, 5-237, 6-238, 7-253, 8-267.
Bowling: Zaheer Khan 10-0-70-0, L Balaji 10-0-50-5, Sanjay Bangar 6-0-34-0, Harbhajan Singh 10-1-47-1, S Ganguly 4-0-18-0, RS Sodhi 2-0-16-0, M Kartik 8-0-37-0.
P Patel c Kaif b Salvi 0
A Rayudu run out (Powar) 2
S Ganguly c Salvi b Pathan 27
VVS Laxman lbw Tendulkar 30
H Badani c Ratra b Salvi 73
S Bangar st Ratra b Kumble 66
R Sodhi not out 14
H Singh b Kumble 14
M Kartik lbw Kumble 0
Z Khan not out 1
Extras: (b:2, w:11, nb:5, lb:4) 22
Total: (for 8 wickets, 50 overs) 249
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-7, 3-39, 4-86, 5-200, 6-226, 7-242, 8-242
Bowling: A Salvi 10-0-50-2, I Pathan 10-1-44-1, A Kumble 10-0-56-2, S Tendulkar 10-1-28-1, R Powar 8-0-55-0, R Gavaskar 2-0-12-0.