India on the backfoot after Day II
Man management coach’s top job: Whatmore
Port in Super Five
Khalsa schools in last four
Rating chess
Mysore Racing/ Vivid Dreams for ‘Million’
Mysore Racing/ Hope And Faith romps home

 
 
INDIA ON THE BACKFOOT AFTER DAY II 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Kandy, Aug. 23: 
SRI LANKA 274, 52/1
INDIA 232

It’s advantage Sri Lanka but, equally, it is in India’s hands to determine just how ‘open’ the second Test can become at the half-way stage, tomorrow afternoon.

Ahead by 42 in the first innings, Lanka stretched their lead to 94 by (delayed) stumps on Day II. The Test at the Asgiriya, though, is far from over and while few will back India — certainly not after another batting exhibition sans character — the possibility of an out-of-the-ordinary comeback exists.

In fact, being one-down in the three-match series, India have no choice.

“I’d rather not say anything till we’ve got early wickets tomorrow,” remarked a hassled Indian coach John Wright. That the third day’s first session holds the key, was underlined even by Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya.

“We’ve done well to be ahead by almost a hundred but, honestly, no session will be more important than the first tomorrow,” Jayasuriya told The Telegraph, at the team hotel. He added: “We’ll have to collect as many runs as possible... After all, there’s no demon in the wicket.”

Speaking exclusively, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly opined: “Our best chance will be to keep the target to under 250. Beyond that, well, it could be difficult.” Much, therefore, will depend on the aggressive Zaheer Khan’s opening spell on Day III. Thus far, the quick has had a superb Test.

In the morning, Lanka failed to add to their overnight 274 for nine (Harvinder Singh evicted Chaminda Vaas in three balls), but they rallied to restrict India. Lanka, of course, received abundant help from debutant home umpire Tyronne Wijewardene. From some Indian batsmen as well.

Wijewardene featured in two atrocious and two questionable decisions. In a low-scoring match, such errors can cause havoc.

Shiv Sundar Das was adjudged leg-before when, in fact, he got a faint inside-edge. Then, the steady looking Mohammed Kaif was out on what should have been ruled a no-ball. The debatable verdicts centred around Rahul Dravid and, later, Zaheer.

While the Dravid-claiming Vaas delivery did pitch in line with the stumps, the India vice-captain was struck high and the ball was still climbing. Most umpires would probably have given the benefit to the batsman. As for Zaheer, the Muttiah Muralidharan delivery made no contact with bat and, if the ball did brush the gloves, that perhaps was only seen by Wijewardene.

The ICC’s Code of Conduct forbids a public comment on the umpiring, but it’s certain that Sourav will have something to say in his end-of-Test captain’s report.

However, at the moment, there’s no point making a big issue, but what is really hurting India is their batting. Sourav, Sadagopan Ramesh and Hemang Badani... All fell to eminently avoidable strokes and need to be hauled over the coals. With practically nothing in the wicket, the batsmen ought to have ensured a first innings surplus.

Come to think of it, had Harbhajan Singh not done a Vaas and scripted a rousing 44 (60 minutes, 32 deliveries, 9x4), the arrears would have been enormous and, effectively, India’s fate sealed this afternoon itself.

Harbhajan smashed both Murali and the quicks effortlessly and, with Samir Dighe, posted the innings’ most productive partnership — 64 for the seventh-wicket in a mere 42 minutes and ten overs. It was a class act from the off-spinner as he drove, pulled and paddle-swept to severely embarrass more than one specialist bat.

The pair, it may be recalled, was also involved in a face-saver during the Bulawayo Test in June. It was then that Harbhajan, who has consciously been working on his batting, got a career-best 66. Today, there was one Dilhara Fernando over when the plucky Sardar helped himself to four consecutive boundaries.

That gave Dighe, who was peppered by the short-pitched stuff from Vaas, the confidence to let his bat do the talking — somewhat brief, though, it may have been.

Shiv Sundar’s unfortunate dismissal rocked India, early on, and it didn’t help when the in-form Dravid was also made to depart early. His exit brought Sourav to the crease and, unlike some of his recent innings, the captain began absolutely positive.

Till he chased the one Ruchira Perera ball which ought not to have been touched, Sourav was looking good, testimony being his 18 coming off as many balls. In the evening, the captain acknowledged he made a mistake. But, then, cricket is cruel to batsmen. A bowler can pull things back after a bad ball; batsmen have to wait for the next innings. For some, that innings never comes.

Ramesh and Kaif then added 52 for the third-wicket, a smart association which ended because of yet another Wijewardene mistake. Ramesh, who wasn’t tempted by the many ‘strategic’ deliveries at the start, again himself undid all the good work. His second 40-plus score of the series came in 152 minutes, off 95 deliveries (5x4).

Badani, who needs to be taught that learning from mistakes and minimising risks is a top component of the sport, committed hara-kiri with tea (eventually taken at 161 for six) just minutes away. He impetuously pulled Ruchira and, not surprisingly, miscued. That made it two poor, and irresponsible, shots in three innings.

The Harbhajan show exploded in the final session, but the innings didn’t go beyond the 65th over.

While Vaas returned the best figures in this his 50th Test, Ruchira walked away with the top strike-rate. He didn’t disappoint Jayasuriya in the two spells that the captain used him. Murali was a pretty low-key performer, but will have to be watched with a hawk’s eye in innings No.2. Suresh Perera did bowl — only, as was expected, from Steve Bucknor’s end.

Jayasuriya’s has been the solitary wicket to fall in Lanka’s second innings. The captain, who misjudged the line, became a fired-up Zaheer’s victim. The quick would have had Kumar Sangakkara, too, but a mix-up between Dighe and Harvinder allowed the No.3 an early reprieve.

Thankfully, in that tamasha, Dighe and Harvinder only came close to doing a Steve Waugh-Jason Gillespie repeat (on the same turf), without actually colliding. Otherwise...

   

 
 
MAN MANAGEMENT COACH’S TOP JOB: WHATMORE 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Kandy, Aug. 23: 
The summer of 1999 saw England wooing Dav Whatmore. Indeed, many then felt he would be the ideal successor to David Lloyd.

Yet, on the quiet, even Sri Lanka wanted him back. Eventually, the Lanka-born Whatmore opted to return for a second innings as Lanka’s coach.

Thus far, it has been a rewarding partnership but, typically, Whatmore (who played eight Tests for Australia) believes much needs to be done. Whatmore, who rarely makes a show of any emotion, spoke to The Telegraph on the eve of the ongoing Test here.

Following are excerpts

Q Your second innings as Lanka’s coach has just seen two years being completed. Your thoughts?

A We haven’t done as well as we should have in Test cricket and, in particular, the real bitter pills were defeats in the last two series: England at home and, before that, in South Africa... We’ve obviously done better in the shorter version.

Q Any lessons learnt in your first innings (ending soon after the 1996 World Cup) which have come in handy this time?

A (Smiles) For one, I have a much better understanding of the culture... Then, drawing from that experience, I’m better equipped to interact with administrators.

Q As a person, how different is Dav Whatmore?

A More thick-skinned. I’ve realised that, invariably, there will be people who will criticise and, possibly, even be against you... In such situations, you swallow some things and keep working.

Q How do you view a coach’s role?

A Man-management is the top component. Basically, a coach helps create the environment for a healthy performance but, within any team, there are individuals and the coach has to handle each differently. Essentially, every individual has to be made to feel important and the preparation should be such that the best is brought out.

Q We’ve recently had reports that Barry Richards will be Lanka’s consultant batting coach and that there may even be a specialist spin bowling coach from overseas...

A For starters, whoever is invited, will work under my direction. In any case, whether it’s Barry or somebody else, the consultant will only be making occasional visits between now and the 2003 World Cup. (Adds laughing) They will be having a few bites of the cherry, that’s all... I’ll be happy if a Barry Richards can help improve my players.

Incidentally, Darryl Foster comes twice a year to work with the quicks... Besides, we’ve already begun to utilise former Lankan players. Rumesh Ratnayeke, for instance, works with the fast bowlers. Ruwan Kalpage drops in for fielding drills... We’ve got others, as well.

Q But doesn’t this dilute your position?

A Actually, this arrangement allows me to have an overall perspective and, during nets specially, I can go around instead of being tied down with either just the batsmen or bowlers.

Q In your first innings, you were one of the few overseas coaches handling an international side. Now, there are so many and the debate over their desirability continues. What are your views?

A Simple: Don’t put a square peg in a round hole. The employer shouldn’t merely scan a candidate’s CV. It’s most important to assess whether the person, no matter how impressive his credentials, will actually be able to work with the given set of players. Bottomline is he must be able to bring the best out of them.

Q It must surely be a big help that Sanath Jayasuriya has kept the captaincy throughout your second innings?

A There certainly have been benefits and the longer this partnership continues, the better. I personally don’t think changes always have the desired effect.

Q Has Jayasuriya matured as captain?

A Absolutely. Also, he is today more relaxed, which is a good sign.

Q Do you, too, agree with John Wright that a coach is only as good as his team?

A Indeed. At the same time, the coach and players must complement each other. The coach can only prepare, but the execution is in the hands of the players. Therefore, they have a responsibility and I encourage them to think... It’s part of their preparation. It’s possible they may fail but, at least, they would have themselves done some thinking. If a player doesn’t, he’s not quite learning.

Q Should the captain and coach have a vote each at selection meetings?

A Now, now... You’re pushing me into hot water...

Q There was talk a psychologist/professional motivator may be part of your support-team...

A There is a role for a psychologist, though not a motivator... One needn’t hype this because, in essence, a psychologist will merely provide tools to overcome moments of stress. Then, how does one know who the right person is?

Q The Lankans are again handling the one-day pressures well. What has brought about this change?

A That’s because we are attacking the ‘big’ matches in a better frame of mind. Obviously, there is more pressure, specially in a final, and if a risk has to be taken, it must be calculated.

Q And, your assessment of Lanka in Test cricket?

A To be honest, we haven’t really got full control... But, we are working towards it and, as coach, I feel I’ve now got a better grip... At the same time, there’s no point just being tigers at home and pussycats abroad. I accept it’s important to be the king at home, but the team must also be highly competitive beyond its shores.

Q The Board’s fast bowlers’ programme is paying dividends. But what about the spinners?

A The quicks’ identification has been good and, thereafter, Rumesh and the rest have been taking care. Offering guidance, watching workloads... As for the spinners, that Murali (Muttiah Muralidharan) is so good doesn’t really help. It’s a limiting factor in that everybody is judged by the Murali-yardstick.

Q What makes Murali such a phenomenal bowler?

A His talent is in-born, it’s all from within... The desire to do well, the keeness to perform under pressure... Everything... Murali’s fierce competitiveness is written on his face, you can see it in his eyes. I don’t think you can coach somebody into becoming a Murali... To his credit, he hasn’t allowed the controversies to affect him... My view, though, has always been that he was called wrongly.

Q It appears you share a special relationship with Murali, on the lines of the Bob Woolmer-Allan Donald partnership...

A May seem so, but it’s not much different from my relationship with the other boys. But, yes, Murali is a highly-strung cricketer who places so much expectation on himself. So, as coach, I try to take some of the pressure off him. It helps, probably, that I now have a reasonable idea of how he will react to particular situations. If I end up reacting the same way, we will repel. Thankfully, I’m not the same sort and can keep everything bottled inside. So, we complement each other.

Q What are your impressions of Harbhajan Singh?

A He has the attributes seen in some of your great spinners... It appears Harbhajan is willing to learn, which is a good thing. He has the desire to not just turn his arm over.

Q Your second innings coincided with the exclusion, at that point in time, of some of the old guard. Having worked with the Arjuna Ranatungas, how did you feel?

A (After a pause) I really don’t want to comment on the selection policy... Don’t think it would be proper. But, looking back, it was probably the best way for Jayasuriya to start his captaincy. It was, however, one big transitional phase... It helped that we began with wins both in the tri-series (beating Australia in the final) and the Test series against Australia.

Q The last question. More than five years on, how emotional are you about that 1996 World Cup triumph?

A (Laughs) That’s history, I don’t wake up and think about it first thing in the morning. But, yes, one looks back with satisfaction... It’s a bigger challenge, nowadays, as all teams are preparing so much better. If you ask me, there are no easy games and on test, on a regular basis, is a team’s consistency.

   

 
 
PORT IN SUPER FIVE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 23: 
Mohammedan Sporting today earned their third victory in the Calcutta Football League’s Super Division when they beat a lowly SAIL, by a second-minute goal. SAIL are yet to notch a point off their nine outings.

However, the more interesting development of the day was Calcutta Port Trust’s (CPT) entry into the Super Five (the five that will now fight for the title). That completed the Super five line-up, in order being Mohun Bagan, Bhratri Sangha, East Bengal, Tollygunge Agragami and Port. However, Tollygunge have played only six matches (16 points), compared to eight by East Bengal, and hence have the opportunity of moving up a slot in the standings.

The Mohammedan Sporting winner came from Nigerian Lawrence Enyilord. They finished their first-round engagements with nine points and will fight in the relegation round with four other teams.

Amjad Hussein was up the right and centred to the goalmouth, past a lone defender. At the goalmouth a lurking Lawrence made no mistake in snatching what ultimately was the winner.

Port earned their 15th point off nine matches when Pradip Indu slotted home from inside the box a pass from the left to beat the FCI goalkeeper hands down.

In the other Super Division match of the day George Telegraph rode a first-half Bimal Mondal goal to beat BNR. George finished sixth (13 points from nine matches), followed by Mohammedan Sporting.

SAIL squander chances

It was not that Mohammedan Sporting won in canter today. The way SAIL played, they could have come of winners too. However, tardy and hasty shooting at the goalmouth proved to be their undoing.

In the 23rd minute a Tapas Chatterjee shot from the top of the Mohammedan Sporting box came off the crosspiece and that did not add to the SAI confidence. Twelve minutes after change of ends, a Mohammed Rafique centre from the right was shot over from handshaking distance of the goal by Lawrence.

TEAMS

MOHAMMEDAN SPORTING: Imran Khan, Sarawar Ali, Insan Ali, Aslam Pervez, Bajnath Hembrom (Alauddin Rehman, 24), Arunava Sarkar, Ohidul Islam, Zulfiqar Ali (Debu Pradhan, 73), Mohammed Rafique, Lawrence Enyilord, Amjad Hussein (Jiban Krishna Saha, 50).

SAIL: Sudip Sarkar, Biswajit Gayen, Chanchal Sarkar, Srikanta Debnath (Bajrangi Ram, 77), Sandip Saha, Kuntal Mukherjee (Shafiq-ul Islam, 61), Suvrajit Ghosh, Tapas Chatterjee, Mustaqil Mollah (Brijesh Kumar, 84), Sundarlal Hembrom, Supriyo Das Gupta.

Referee: Subrata Das.

In first division group B, Mohammedan AC beat Milan Samity 2-1, while Taltala DS and Barisha failed to score.

   

 
 
KHALSA SCHOOLS IN LAST FOUR 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 23: 
Khalsa High School and Khalsa Eng. HS today moved into the semi-finals of the BHA President’s Cup hockey tournament, with wins over Khalsa Model School (2-0) and Entally Hockey Academy (2-0), respectively.

Jaswinder Singh Grewal and Jagtar Singh scored for Khalsa HS, while Jarnail Singh and Karamjit Singh scored for Khalsa Eng.

In the Dhyanchand Memorial Cup Biswalaksmi Sporting Academy beat Presidency Muslim HS 2-0.

Chanda to pay for trip

IM Sandipan Chanda today left for a three-month tour of Germany to play in the chess circuit there. Failing to find a sponsor, Chanda has to foot his own bill for the trip. From August 25 to September 1 he will be playing in the Wisbaden Open, which is a nine-round Swiss meet. From September 5 to 9 he will play in the Leinfelden Open, a seven-round Swiss.

Chanda, a product of The Telegraph schools meet, also has an offer to play in the German team championship for Solingen S.G.

“I am participating in these meets to increase my Elo rating which is likely to go down to 2403 from 2427 in the next list,” said Chanda. He has two GM norms.

   

 
 
RATING CHESS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 23: 
The second Fide-rated meet of the West Bengal Chess Association will be held at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra from Tuesday to September 4. The 11-round Swiss league meet has a total prize fund of Rs 80,000.    

 
 
MYSORE RACING/ VIVID DREAMS FOR ‘MILLION’ 
 
 
FROM WILLIAM TELL
 
Mysore, Aug. 23: 
The Arjun Mangalorkar-ward Vivid Dreams, a hat-tricker here during the recent summer season, may be hard to toss in tomorrow’s main event, the Nanoli Stud Million, a terms event over 1,400m.S. Rakesh partners the Classic Sport-Escada filly.

SELECTIONS

2.15 pm: Questionable 1. Franco Leone 2. Win Ameen 3.
2.45 pm: Almond 1. Nairn 2. Austin Jennings 3.
3.15 pm: Pharoah 1. Royal Castle 2. Peace Desire 3.
3.45 pm: Air Strike 1. Whatmore 2. Royal Contender 3.
4.15 pm: Vivid Dreams 1. Antequera 2. Star Pegasus 3.
4.45 pm: Royal Debut 1. Starry Halo 2. Caesarr 3.
5.15 pm: Golden Collection 2. Spirito 2. Compliance 3.

Day’s Best: Vivid Dreams

Double: Royal Debut & Golden Collection
   

 
 
MYSORE RACING/ HOPE AND FAITH ROMPS HOME 
 
 
BY TITAN BOY
 
Mysore, Aug. 23: 
Ridden by K. P. Appu, the three-year-old filly Hope And Faith romped home with the H. H. Sri Narasimharaja Wadiyar Memorial Gold Cup at the Mysore races held on Thursday. Zari Darashah-trained the Broto-Maman Zimbie daughter

RESULTS

(With inter-state dividends)

1. Paddock Plate 1,200m: (1-10-6) Oscar (Appu) 1; Bacardi Star 2; Gordon’s Pet 3. Won by:Nk; 4-1/2; (1-16.2). Tote: Win Rs 50; Place: 18; 14; 19; Quinella: 60; Tanala: 421. Fav: Bacardi Star (10).

2. Esquire Plate 1,400m: (12-3-7) Imperial Force (A. Imran) 1; Sunny Spice 2; First Steps 3. Won by: 7-1/2; 7-3/4; (1-29.7). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 13; 23; 18; Quinella: 56; Tanala: 200. Fav: Imperial Force (12).

3. Srirangapattana Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (4-7-2) Hello Baby (Shakti) 1; Bountiful Star 2; Tasman 3. Won by: 5; SH; (1-15.6). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 10; 13; 25; Quinella: 26; Tanala: 140. Fav: Hello Baby (4).

4. Mysore Jewellery Mart Gold Cup 1,600m: (8-7-4) Donna Mia (Mrs Storai) 1; Weapon Alpha 2; Estocade 3. Won by: 1/2; Dist; (1-41.1). Tote: Win Rs 31; Place: 13; 15; 59; Quinella: 33; Tanala: 872. Fav: Donna Mia (8).

5. H. H. Sri Narasimharaja Wadiyar Memorial Gold Cup 1,600m: (7-6-4) Hope And Faith (Appu) 1; Antwerp 2; Audible 3. Won by: 4-1/4; 1-1/2; (1-40.4). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 10; 16; 55; Quinella: 32; Tanala: 432. Fav: Hope And Faith (7).

6. Agumbe Plate 1,400m: (5-2-9) Whattagirl (Surjeet) 1; Ronson 2; Renzino 3. Not run: Spectacular Style (8) & Spanish Armada (10). Won by: 1-3/4; 1-1/4; (1-28.9). Tote: Win Rs 83; Place: 24; 14; 19; Quinella: 121; Tanala: 1,074. Fav: Ronson (2).

7. Srirangapattana Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (3-6-9) Vikramaditya (Rakesh) 1; Persian Goddess 2; Royal Movements 3. Not run: Kisunugntly (1) & Discuss (2). Won by: 2-1/4; 9-1/2; (1-17.2). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 11; 11; 29; Quinella: 18; Tanala: 156. Fav: Vikramaditya (3).

Jackpot: Rs 565; (C) Rs 80.

Treble: (i) Rs 112; (ii) Rs 198.
   
 

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