Agony ends 67 minutes into final day
Lanka batted us out of series, says Sourav
‘We weren’t intense enough’
Sandipan champion
Amrapali, Anupam emerge best
Bengal lose
Kamath no more
Pune Races/ The Pelican wins in Pune
Calcutta Races/ Six events in Wednesday card

Colombo, Sept. 2: 
India 234, 299
Sri Lanka 610/6 dec.
MoM & MoS: Muralidharan

Sixty-seven minutes is all it took Sri Lanka to inflict an innings defeat on India and, in the process, bag the three-Test series 2-1. Lanka’s only other series win at India’s expense was 16 years ago.

Incidentally, never before have the Lankans humiliated India by an innings and more. The Indians’ last such loss was In Bangalore (March 2000), at the hands of Hansie Cronje’s South Africans.

“As captain, I dedicate this victory to all Sri Lankans... It’s a small way of repaying the love and affection we keep getting from our countrymen... They have had to wait two years for success at home, but the wait has been worth it,” an emotional captain Sanath Jayasuriya told The Telegraph, soon after all series-ending rituals were completed.

[Lanka’s last success in a home series was versus Australia, at the start of the 1999-2000 season.]

Asked whether winning on Poya Day, which holds much significance for Buddhists, made the success all the more special, Jayasuriya smiled and replied: “As you know, I’m deeply religious... Well, yes, you could say the win has plenty of significance attached.”

But while 11.37 am (local time) will remain special for Jayasuriya, it marked the first series-defeat for Indian captain Sourav Ganguly. For one who took pride in having kept the slate clean, the result did hurt. It showed.

“It’s deeply disappointing, specially the manner in which we got outplayed in the decider. Yet, I suppose, there had to be a first Test series loss. It happened in Lanka,” Sourav observed wearily, speaking exclusively.

Unless there is a coup, Sourav’s next assignment will be South Africa. Though the captain may then have the full-strength team, the opposition will be of a different class. So, the return of the big guns won’t necessarily ensure better results.

The innings and 77-run defeat at the SSC apart, what will cause much anguish is that not once did India cross the 300-mark and, while six Lankans recorded seven centuries, India’s highest remained Sourav’s unbeaten 98 in Kandy.

In fact, at the SSC, four Lankans got a century each — including debutant Tilan Samaraweera. The home team’s batsmen, then, slammed the door on India after the genius who responds to the name Muttiah Muralidharan had taken eight for 87 on Day-I.

Not for the first time, the supposedly excellent players of spin tied themselves in knots against a top-bracket exponent. The label, therefore, took another beating.

Significantly, talking to Mediapersons, Sourav refused to make much of the absence of four first XI players right through the series and Jawagal Srinath’s after the first Test, in Galle. “I’m not going to offer excuses... The absence of some players came as an opportunity to some others. However, they didn’t quite make the most,” he pointed out.

Some soul searching is called for and one of the issues which must be addressed to is whether the India cap comes dirt cheap now. Just how many actually deserve it? Moreover, exactly how many have the passion and commitment? An honest exercise will throw up uncomfortable answers.

Really, any team which can’t bat for at least four sessions (after winning the toss), that too in the decider, doesn’t deserve success. The series was lost on the first day itself when India crashed to 234 all out (well before stumps) from a high of 97 without loss, just after lunch.

Murali, who finished with 23 wickets, was adjudged Man of the Series. Indeed, his eight for 87 in the first innings, an effort which pushed India on the backfoot, also saw him pocket the Man-of-the-Match award. He was the one big difference.

India began the last day, today, 159 still in arrears. Though four wickets were intact, nobody expected a miraculous late-order resurgence. The Indians didn’t disappoint.

Hemang Badani was the first to go, followed by the other overnighter, Samir Dighe. The wicketkeeper, who had much to atone for, became the third Indian to be run out. Obviously, no lessons were learnt from the two run outs late yesterday. This is inexplicable.

Dighe’s exit, though, saw a scintillating 48-run partnership for the ninth wicket, as Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan used the long-handle to stunning effect.

It ended when an unamused Chaminda Vaas bounced-out Harbhajan. Outshone heavily by Murali, Harbhajan had sought to get even in the only manner he could: Tonking cricket’s most successful off-spinner for six.

Later, in registering his career-best 45 (45 minutes, 40 deliveries, 5x4, 2x6), Zaheer helped himself to two superb sixes off Murali. It was in trying to clear the boundary for a third time, that he got out.

That Zaheer wicket ended the Indian ‘challenge’. As the Lankans rushed to grab the stumps as prized souvenirs, one couldn’t but marvel at the home team’s amazing recovery after being badly bruised in Kandy just over a week ago. At best, India were consistent in being inconsistent.


Colombo, Sept. 2: 
The Emerald Isle Wizard, Muttiah Muralidharan, was the cynosure at the SSC this morning, on completion of the three-Test series. Man-of-the-Match, Man-of-the-Series... “He has no peers,” observed an admiring India coach John Wright, perfectly reflecting the general sentiment.

Just the other day, Murali had told The Telegraph: “A 15-wicket haul in a three-Test series satisfies me... Anything after that, makes me happy.” Well, after 23 wickets, this champion Sri Lankan sure can jump around.

Murali himself preferred to thank teammates and made a mention of the growing number of quality quicks who, really, have made his task easier. “I’m not the only one expected to get wickets,” he quipped. Bottomline, though, is nobody quite delivers like him.

Predictably, both captains (Sourav Ganguly and Sanath Jayasuriya) paid rich tribute to Murali. Here goes:

SOURAV: Look, Murali is a world-class bowler and, so, you’ve got to be positive and back your instincts. Basically, you shouldn’t allow him to settle down. That, of course, can only be done by proper use of feet... I would also say one should look at the ball for as long as possible, before attempting a stroke... Good use of feet is bound to get Murali thinking... Idea, clearly, is to not allow him to bowl where he wishes to.

JAYASURIYA: Oh, he was the one real difference between the teams... I know Murali had very long spells but, then, he himself isn’t uncomfortable bowling that way. The secret of Murali’s success, in my opinion, is his variety: He can bowl the one which zips through straight, can turn on just about any surface and even bowl leg-spin... That’s quite a handful. He’s the patient sort and doesn’t mind waiting for the batsmen to make mistakes.

Both captains also spoke generally. Excerpts:

SOURAV: Plain and simple, the first day cost us this match and series... Just look at the Lankans... Four centuries in one innings and, right through the series, we couldn’t even post one. There’s no doubt Lanka batted us out of the series... At different times, many of our batsmen got starts but, then, lost their way. How can we, then, win a Test series? I agree Harbhajan Singh had, what I would describe as a quiet series, but he would have learnt from this trip. He has a long career ahead of him... In any case, at this level, there are no excuses and I’m certainly not offering any... Sure, we missed a clutch of top players, but can injuries be avoided? It’s unfortunate not everybody made the most of opportunities which came their way.

JAYASURIYA: On the eve of this series, it’s our batting which had me worried. In the decider against England, for example (at the SSC itself), we were bowled out for 81 in the second innings and lost the series... Yet, this time, at least one of us got a century in each of the Tests (Mahela Jayawardene did it twice) and, in this game, our only innings produced four... As captain, I can only feel happy, more so for debutant (Tilan) Samaraweera and Hashan (Tillekaratne). Samaraweera batted with maturity, never for a moment suggesting it was his debut. As for Hashan, he was under severe pressure, yet came good.

Our Kandy performance was such that lessons had to be learnt. As it turned out, the batsmen didn’t repeat mistakes. Was I under pressure when this series began? Well, every captain is always under some pressure. After all, cricket gives no guarantees.


Colombo, Sept.2: 
Coach John Wright today declared that the players would have to “evaluate themselves afresh” on returning home (tomorrow) after the Sri Lanka tour.

Talking specifically of the third and final Test which ended in a huge defeat for India, Wright said: “We weren’t intense enough throughout the game. Moreover, too many mistakes of the basic kind were committed... All concerned will have to look into this.”

Wright added: “We can’t afford to feature in so many soft dismissals. Equally, we can’t go wrong with the fundamentals — running between the wickets, for example. The way I look at it, bowlers must be as quick in their last spell (of the day) as they would have been at the start, and batsmen must carry on after getting set... We need to get fitter, too.”

The coach remarked he would “review” his own training-drills and see whether the basics (such as running between wickets) can be better imparted/instilled.

Wright, though, had a word of comfort for captain Sourav Ganguly: “I can feel for Sourav... It’s tough when, on a flat wicket, the top bowlers don’t exactly deliver... Really, Sourav had a job on his hands. It didn’t help that he himself got a rough decision (in the first innings).”

Later, speaking to The Telegraph, Wright informed he will travel home to New Zealand for “around ten days” and, then, possibly go to South Africa ahead of the team’s arrival there. “It’s a tough tour and there are quite a few things to organise,” he pointed out.

One, obviously, will be local bowlers for the team’s nets.


Calcutta, Sept. 2: 
IM Sandipan Chanda has emerged champion in the International Schlosspark Open chess tournament in Wiesbaden in Germany.

According to information received here, Sandipan beat Denys Kovalev in the final round. It took the eighth seed’s tally to 7.5 points out of a maximum of nine.

There was a four-way tie for second to fifth place with the players on seven points. GM Mihail Saltaev came second and IM Viesturs Meijers third.

The title was not enough for Sandipan for his third and final GM norm. Sandipan has an Elo rating of 2427 and this success is likely to fetch him some rating points. It made him richer by Deutsche Marks 1925. He will play in the German circuit till October.

Gore maintains lead

Yogesh Gore beat Amardeep Bartake in the ninth round of the WBCA Fide-rated meet to maintain his lead at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra. Gore (8.5) is one-and-half points clear of his nearest rivals with two rounds to go.


Calcutta, Sept. 2: 
Anupam Saha and Amrapali Das Gupta emerged individual champions in men’s and women’s sections, respectively, in the state swimming meet which ended at Krishnanagar today.

According to information received here, Anupam erased Sudip Chatterjee’s state record in 50m breaststroke, bettering it by 0.36 seconds, clocking 00:33.19. He also came close to Soumak Naskar’s 50m freestyle record, winning the gold at 0:26.13.

RESULTS — MEN: 50m breaststroke: 1. Anupam Saha (33.19), 2. Gauranga Mondal (33.77), 3. Gairik Bardhan (53.33).

100m backstroke: 1. Kaushik Banerjee (1:05.95), 2. Dilip Parui (1:09.17), 3. Sandip Das (1:10.49).

100m butterfly: 1. Ashim Mondal (1:02.91), 2. Souvik Das (1:04.35), 3. Sunil Mondal (1:05.25).

50m freestyle: 1. Anupam Saha (26.13), 2. Snehashish Mukherjee (26.35), 3. Sujoy Hazra (27.02).

WOMEN: 50m breaststroke: 1. Ankana Sil, (39.55), 2. Pushpa Banik (39.56), 3. Tumpa Mondal (40.19).

100m backstroke: 1. Amrapali Das Gupta (01:14.93), 2. Mita Mullick (01:20.14), 3. Kanak Biswas (01:26.59).

100m butterfly: 1. Debjani Bhaduri (01:13.13), 2. Jhuma Naskar (01:14.72), 3. Monika Mondal (01:15.97).

50m freestyle: 1. Amrapali Das Gupta (30.51), 2. Ankana Sil (31.50), 3. Swagata Bose (31.96).

200m freestyle: 1. Debjani Bhaduri (2:26.05), 2. Chaitali Ghosh (2:30.55), 3. Sampa Das (2:33.14).


Calcutta, Sept. 2: 
Bengal opened their Moin-ud-Dowlah Gold Cup campaign in Hyderabad with a five-wicket defeat against Associated Banks today.

According to information received here, Bengal were all out for 215 in 49.3 overs. Saikat Mukherjee made 63. Rohan Gavaskar got a duck. B. Akhil and Daniel Manohar guided Associated Banks home with five wickets to spare.

Bengal’s other matches are against New Zealand A (Tuesday), Mumbai (Thursday) and Chemplast (September 10).

BRIEF SCORES: CAB XI 215 in 49.3 ovs (S. Mukherjee 63, A. Das 27, L.R. Shukla 26; J.P. Yadav 3/30). Associated Banks 218/5 in 42.1 ovs (B. Akhil 79, D. Manohar 52; S. Lahiri 2/37). Associated Banks won by 5 wkts.


New Delhi, Sept. 2: 
Ashok Kamath, 48, sports editor of The Telegraph from 1985 to 1992, passed away here this afternoon. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Though Kamath had switched from sports in recent years, he began his career as a journalist with Sportsworld.

At the time of his death, Kamath was Resident Editor of The Times of India’s New Delhi edition.


Pune, Sept. 2: 
The M. K. Jadhav-trained, The Pelican won the Parx-General Rajendrasinhji Trophy in Pune on Sunday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Copper Crown Plate 1,000m: (2-4-1) Cool Water (Rupesh) 1; Futuristic 2; Mischiefmaker 3. Won by: 3-3/4; 1; (1-1.2). Tote:Win Rs 98; Place: 23; 16; 13; Quinella: 306; Tanala: 1,528. Fav: Mischiefmaker (1).

2. F. A. and K. A. Irani Trophy 1,600m: (3-2-5) Heaven Sent (Daniel) 1; L. A. Woman 2; Tap On Power 3. Won by: SH; 3/4; (1-43). Tote: Win Rs 82; Place: 23; 17; Quinella: 61; Tanala: 423. Fav: L. A. Woman (2).

3. Ibiza Plate 1,200m: (2-6-3) Bryce Canyon (Rajendra) 1; Colour of Joy 2; Chamonix 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 3-1/4; (1-12.3). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 12; 16; 18; Quinella: 34; Tanala: 117. Fav: Bryce Canyon (2).

4. K. Raghunath Plate 2,000m: (5-6-3) Phalaenopsis (Rajendra) 1; Weathering 2; Saranyu 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 3-3/4; (2-6.6). Tote: Win Rs 44; Place: 13; 17; 37; Quinella: 70; Tanala: 1,410. Fav: Weathering (6).

5. Parx-General Rajendrasinhji Trophy 1,800m: (1-2-5) The Pelican (Kader) 1; Name of Love 2; Starsky 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 1/2; (1-52.6). Tote: Win Rs 28; Place: 14; 17; 17; Quinella: 89; Tanala: 329. Fav: Rage (3).

6. Golfing Plate 1,600m: (5-2-6) Centenary (Ruzaan) 1; Amaron 2; Dark Side of The Moon 3. Won by: 4-3/4; 1; (1-41.6). Tote: Win Rs 77; Place: 30; 15; 21; Quinella: 119; Tanala: 984. Fav: Adam’s Delight (1).

7. Politely Please Plate 1,000m: (2-3-6) Soviet Lake (Shroff) 1; Osprey 2; Blue Butterfly 3. Not run: Tasmac (7). Won by: 3; 1-3/4; (1-0.1). Tote: Win Rs 34; Place: 18; 16; 30; Quinella: 100; Tanala: 851. Fav: Soviet Lake (2).

Jackpot: Rs 4,414; (C) Rs 865.

Treble: (i) Rs 1,148; (ii) Rs 592.


Calcutta, Sept. 2: 
There are six events in Wednesday’s race card.First race starts at 1.50 pm.


1. Hovercraft Cup 1,800m (Cl I; Cl II eligible, Rt. 66-94) 1.50 pm: Arendal 60; Anolini 57.5.

2. Verge Handicap 1,200m (Cl V, 5 -y-o & over Rt. 18 & below) 2.30 pm: Amistad 60; Armila 59.5; Heaven’s Blessing 58; Double Dancer 57; Stella Blue 57; Piece of Cake 56; Consul’s Secret 54; Magic Ring 48.

3. Kinkajou Handicap 1,200m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 3 pm: Aherlow 61; Iron Warrior 54.5; Crest Star 52; Albright 51.5.

4. Douetil Memorial Cup 1,400m: (Cl III, Rt. 44-72) 3.35 pm: Giorgio 60; Carbon Copy 58.5; Harry The Horse 58.5; Actress 57; Grand Lodge 55; Double Bull 52; Queen’s Logic 51; High Life 48.

5. Look Round Handicap 2,000m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 4.05 pm: Nearco Prince 61; Alvernia 56; Keep The Faith 53.5; Aventura 51; Sunset Down 49; Ghunghat 47.

6. Casbah Handicap 1,100m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 4.40 pm: Raaz 60; Wandering Warrior 59; Countach 57.5; Storm Trooper 56; Floral Path 52; Global Harmony 50.5; Software 50.5; Tsaynen Blue 50.5.

Jackpot: 2; 3; 4; 5 & 6.

Treble: (i) 2; 3 & 4; (ii) 4; 5; & 6.


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