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Akash Chopra, Yuvraj brief Kiwis on Indian conditions

Ashish Magotra in Visakhapatnam | September 28, 2003 14:49 IST
Last Updated: September 28, 2003 20:03 IST

If the success of a tour game is measured by the amount of time spent on the field, then the three-day game between between Board President's XI and the touring New Zealand side will not be rated very highly. But that takes away nothing from brilliant knocks by Akash Chopra and Yuvraj Singh on the final day of the match.

After rain had played spoilsport on the first two days, the sun finally shone in all its glory at the ACA - VDCA stadium in Vishakhapatnam on Sunday. Board President's XI made 227 for the loss of one wicket, with opener Akash Chopra scoring an unbeaten 103 and Yuvraj Singh an unbeaten 80 not out in an unbroken stand of 166 in 56.5 overs.

The only batsman to be dismissed was Shive Sundar Das, for 16.

The beauty of the Chopra-Yuvraj partnership was not only the number of runs scored but also the manner in which they were scored. There was almost an air of arrogance in the way they batted. They easily hit boundaries and sixes and mixed it all up with quick singles and twos.

Chopra, in particular, impressed with his attitude and concentration levels in the middle, while Yuvraj was at his fluent best. The thing with Yuvraj is that he always gives the bowler a chance, but with Chopra, there was no chink in the armour. The Kiwis tried everything but were still unsuccessful at the end of the day.

The last session saw Chopra opening up as he looked towards reaching his century. He displayed a wide array of shots as he finally tore into the Kiwi bowling after exercising restraint all day. He got his century off the last ball of the day.

Yuvraj, at the other end, did his chances of playing in a Test no harm at all. His sweeps, in particular, when coupled with the big hits in the 'V', made him a very hard man to contain.

Earlier in the day, Sehwag, who opened the innings on day 1, sent Das in his stead to start the proceedings on day three. It was later announced that the Board President's XI skipper was suffering from 'bad health'.

The morning session though passed without much incident. Both Das and Chopra looked extremely compact in their stay, playing pace and spin with ease. They eschewed all risks and only late in the session did they start playing a few shots.

Left-arm spinner Vettori was brought into the attack in the 17th over. After waiting in the dressing room for two days, the frontline Kiwi spin bowler's tour had finally begun.

Only 45 minutes of play was possible in the first session as the outfield was still a little soggy.

The post lunch session saw Yuvraj (2 x 4, 1 x 6)  being the aggressor while Chopra was content to drop anchor even as the Kiwis toiled.

Das looked to be at ease as his innings progressed through the morning session. But a ball down the leg-side caused his downfall. Looking to glance the ball to fine leg, he only succeeded in guiding it straight to New Zealand wicket-keeper Robbie Hart, who took a nice catch diving to his left. Another opportunity lost for the Orissa opener.

A huge roar from the crowd greeted Yuvraj's arrival to the wicket. The left-hander, almost always, takes on the bowlers and that element of his game excites the crowd.

He started of a little tentatively but soon found his footing and hit the first boundary of the day off Paul Wiseman. The spinning duo of Daniel Vettori and Wiseman were brought together for the first time in the 33rd over.

The final session of the day belonged to the batsmen and saw as many as 122 runs being scored.

For the Kiwis, the only solace will be that they finally managed to get some playing time in Indian conditions. Of the bowlers, it was interesting to see Vettori and Wiseman bowl together though not much came out of it as the Board President's duo was in complete charge.

The Kiwis next move on to Rajkot, where they play their second and final tour game against India 'A'. The first Test begins in Ahmedabad on October 8.


Board President's XI 1st innings:
 A Chopra not out                      103
 V Sehwag (retired)                       9
 S S Das c Hart b Butler             16
 Yuvraj Singh not out                   80

Extras: (nb-16, w-1, lb-2)              19

Total: (for one wicket in 84.5 overs)  227

Fall of wicket: 1-61.

Bowling: Butler 18-6-32-1; Mason 12-4-24-0; Styris 5-3-2-0; Vettori 26-4-85-0; Wiseman 23.5-4-82-0.

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