SA take control with Kallis, Pollock tons
Shaun explains stand to SA board
More to it than meets eye
Bengal settle for five points
Calcutta Racing/ Touch of Silver wins thriller

 
 
SA TAKE CONTROL WITH KALLIS, POLLOCK TONS 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Centurion, Nov.25: 
India 232
South Africa 566/8

Jacques Kallis must wait to know whether his 110, today, will be recognised as his tenth Test hundred. What, however, isn’t in doubt is that Kallis now has 22 first-class hundreds.

Ditto for South African captain Shaun Pollock. It’s confirmed he authored his sixth first-class hundred, this afternoon. What is in doubt is whether his unbeaten 113 will be recorded as his third hundred in Test cricket.

Riding Kallis’ typically solid effort and Pollock’s near-whirlwind knock, South Africa forced a crushing lead of 334 by early stumps on Day-III, at the SuperSport Park here. Keeping the captain company was Makhaya Ntini.

As stumps came about prematurely, thanks to the elements, play tomorrow will begin half-an-hour early (1.30 pm IST).

Despite fielding five specialist bowlers, and utilising Sachin Tendulkar too, India made a negligible impression as South Africa moved to finish the ‘Test’ in four days. And, yet again, the team’s famed depth in batting was in evidence.

Actually, it was a powerful performance.

Agencies add: The hosts milked the bowling, scoring runs at will as each and every South African batsman made handsome contributions. Having taken a battering throughout the day, the Indians looked as if they were just going through the motions and that was evident in the ease with which even a No. 10 batsman like Makhaya Ntini batted. The pair raised more than 100 runs for the yet unfinished ninth wicket with his captain.

India had gone into this match with an extra bowler, but no one in the five-pronged attack could make an impression.

The first half of the day belonged to Kallis and the second to Pollock as the South Africans dominated the proceedings throughout.

Kallis, who resumed at his overnight score of 41, reached fifty with two boundaries off Harbhajan Singh early in the morning session and batted confidently, never offering any chance to the Indians.

Lance Klusener, who came out to bat this morning after Sachin Tendulkar had dismissed Neil McKenzie off the last ball of the day yesterday, raised 60 runs for the fifth wicket with Kallis before falling victim to Jawagal Srinath. Klusener was caught in the slips by V. V. S. Laxman for 33 which included six hits to the fence.

South Africa took lunch at 359 for five with Kallis going strong on 87 and Mark Boucher on 17. Kallis reached his century in the 11th over after lunch with his 17th boundary off Venkatesh Prasad.

He couldn’t last long after that and was foxed by a yorker from Kumble. The sixth wicket association between him and Boucher yielded 74 runs.

India got another success at the same score when Ashish Nehra clean bowled Boucher for 33.

But then the Indians ran into Pollock who produced a contrasting, but an equally entertaining, innings to what Kallis had played.

The South African captain scored at more than run-a-ball and raised exactly 50 runs for the eighth wicket with Nicky Boje who made 20.

At tea, South Africa were 486 for eight with Pollock batting on 57 and Ntini on 17. Pollock reached his 11th first class hundred with a quick single off Harbhajan Singh.

When rains forced the day’s play to an abrupt end, Pollock had reached 113, made off just 109 balls that contained seven fours and five sixes. Ntini was batting on 30.

   

 
 
SHAUN EXPLAINS STAND TO SA BOARD 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Centurion, Nov. 25: 
The United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) chief executive, Gerald Majola, “spoke” to captain Shaun Pollock after his somewhat over-the-top comments on Friday, opening day of this ‘Test’ at SuperSport Park.

Contrary to the stand then taken by his own Board and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Pollock bluntly told newsmen, at stumps, that the “edge had gone out” of his players and that his team was treating the ‘Test’ as a “practice match.”

If that, in the circumstances, wasn’t bad enough, Pollock added: “The status must be clear before players take the field... Personally, I don’t see the International Cricket Council (ICC) granting official recognition at a later date...”

Not surprisingly, it led to red faces, both in India and South Africa. And, this morning, Majola told The Telegraph: “Well, I spoke to Shaun that very evening and his explanation was he didn’t wish to embarrass anybody. Shaun clarified he was only speaking for his players who weren’t able to mentally prepare because of the uncertainty.”

Majola added: “Irrespective of what Shaun said (to newsmen), our team has been giving that hundred per cent and is set on winning in four days... Therefore, I’ve accepted Shaun’s point that whatever he stated shouldn’t be wrongly interpreted.”

However, Majola didn’t rule out the issue being raised at the UCBSA’s next (all-powerful) Executive Committee meeting. “I do know some members are upset... At this moment, then, I can’t say whether or not the issue is closed. If somebody wishes to formally have a discussion, he can’t be stopped.”

What could, incidentally, add fuel to the fire is the equally blunt headline in the mass-circulated Sunday Times: “Captain takes on the cricket Board.”

Meanwhile, Majola denied having “suggested” to anybody that the UCBSA would have scrapped the on-going ‘Test’ had the ICC agreed to make good the expected loss of Rands 40 million, in the event the game was actually not held.

“I never asked the ICC for compensation, didn’t ask them to underwrite the amount we would have lost. Does anybody seriously expect the ICC to compensate? What I did tell London is that our losses would be huge, an unbearable burden. In any case, from what I remember, I didn’t mention specifics. Our own calculation is we would have been in the red by around Rands 40 million...”

Majola’s denial notwithstanding, it’s a fact that financial considerations did come into play when the UCBSA obliged the BCCI by replacing Mike Denness as Match Referee. There was, obviously, pressure from its own government as well. Indeed, papers here have even dragged President Thabo Mbeki into the controversy.

Significantly, 48 hours before the ‘Test’ got underway, a UCBSA statement included the following: “The UCBSA, its sponsors and affiliates would suffer substantial financial losses if the third Test match was cancelled... The losses would severely hamper our efforts to bring cricket to the whole nation...”

It’s been a tough week for Majola and the UCBSA. Tough for the sport itself.

   

 
 
MORE TO IT THAN MEETS EYE 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Centurion, Nov. 25: 
The South African selectors’ explanation for overlooking Daryll Cullinan, while picking the Australia-bound squad, is largely that he had played “little cricket” in the past six months. But, then, that’s the official reason.

According to well-placed sources of The Telegraph, another (unpublicised) factor played the biggest part. Apparently, neither captain Shaun Pollock nor coach Graham Ford were keen on having Cullinan recalled.

Aware that the issue is sensitive, the sources didn’t go into specifics, but did talk about a “supposed attitude problem.” It seems both the captain and coach informed the very influential, if not the six selectors themselves, that “handling” Cullinan was a problem.

While the views of Pollock and Ford weren’t binding, the selectors obviously still went along with the stand of the two people who would have to work closest with the 31-year-old Cullinan.

What came in handy is Cullinan’s below-par record in Australia when, in other countries, he has fared so well. In fact, in the West Indies earlier this year, Cullinan had all of 459 runs in the five Tests. In 70 appearances, his Test average is around 45 and no South African has matched his tally of hundreds — 14.

Though Gauteng’s Cullinan underwent (right) knee surgery in September, he has been playing provincial cricket for a month now. Indeed, he was a late call-up to the South Africa A squad, which was to have played against India in East London. As it turned out, not a ball was bowled there.

Handsome runs in East London would definitely have helped Cullinan, specifically giving his backers in the selection committee the ‘stick’ to help overturn reservations about his “attitude.” Now, Cullinan must wait for consistently strong performances, in domestic cricket, to have the comeback-door opened.

For the record, this is what chief selector Rushdi Magiet said at Friday’s Media briefing: “We deliberated long on Daryll — he deserved that — but, at the end of the day, we found there was no place for him...”

The berth, seen by many as ‘reserved’ for the stalwart, went to young Justin Ontong (Boland), who can also be counted upon for a few overs of off-spin.

   

 
 
BENGAL SETTLE FOR FIVE POINTS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Nov. 25: 
Bengal failed to earn full points against Bihar in the Vijay Merchant Trophy as their match at Asansol ended in a draw today.

Resuming at 51 for three, Bihar batsman fought back brilliantly to make 266 before being bowled out.

Needing 161 runs for an outright win, Bengal only managed 75 for three when stumps were drawn.

Bengal got five points by virtue of the first-innings lead while Bihar took home three.

BRIEF SCORES: Bihar 184 & 266. Bengal 290/8 decl. & 75/3. Match drawn.

Under-22 squad named

Shib Sagar Singh will lead Bengal in the under-22 tie versus Sikkim at Burnpur from November 27 to 29.

THE SQUAD

Shib Sagar Singh (cap), Amitabha Chakraborty, Subhomoy Das, Subhradip Ganguly, Ayan Nandy, Avishek Jhunjhunwala, Samad Akhtar, Pinaki Majumdar, Sourav Shil, Wrichik Majumdar, Soujan Biswas, Diptendu Chakraborty and Gourav Sharma.

   

 
 
CALCUTTA RACING/ TOUCH OF SILVER WINS THRILLER 
 
 
BY STAR RACER
 
Calcutta, Nov. 25: 
Tuned to necessity, the Daniel David-trained filly Touch of Silver scraped home to a shade over a length victory, today, in the Calcutta 1,000 Guineas. Prakash Bhonsle partnered the MAM Ramaswamy-owned 7-4 favourite to victory. The jockey, however, faced a strong challenge from Anchetta who threatened to run away with the first classic of the season establishing a long lead soon after the start. The least fancied of the three Vijay Singh-runners entered for the stretch-run nearly five lengths clear of the field but failed to kick on in the final 125m of the 1,600m race to let the Serious Spender-Corviglia daughter pass her after a brief tussle. Angeles and Calorescence, the fancied Vijay’s runners, settled for the minor placings, albeit in close order. The large Sunday crowd was treated to a very competitive sport and a well earned Daniel’s quadruple of wins. Prakash ended the day with a treble.

RESULTS

1. Goldfinder Handicap 1,100m: (3-1-2-4) Common Spirit (Prakash) 1; Abashed (Islam) 2; Storm Centre (Dalpat) 3; Crest Star (Yasin) 4. Won by: 2-1/4; 4-3/4; 7-1/4; (1-7.6). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 10; 15; Quinella: 16; Tanala: 26. Fav: Common Spirit (3). Winner trained by Daniel D.

2. Law Win Handicap 1,100m: (6-5-1-4) Rich Dominion (Abraham) 1; Piece of Cake (Brij S.) 2; Heaven’s Blessing (Shanker) 3; Aureate (Rabani) 4. Won by: 1-3/4; 1-3/4; 1/2; (1-9.3). Tote: Win Rs 13; Place: 10; 47; Quinella: 74; Tanala: 233. Fav: Rich Dominion (6). Winner trained by Daniel D.

3. Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy 1,100m: (1-8-7-11) Moon Mission (Prakash) 1; Callisto (C. Alford) 2; Anatolia (Kader) 3; Star Selection (Abraham) 4. Not run: Social Girl (10). Won by: 1-1/4; 7-3/4; 1-1/4; (1-9.1). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 11; 17; 14; Quinella: 48; Tanala: 135. Fav: Moon Mission (1). Winner trained by Daniel D.

4. Beat The Distance Handicap 1,400m: (6-2-1-5) Aberdan (C. Alford) 1; Impressive Prince (Abraham) 2; Grecian Prince (Prakash) 3; Touch of Elegance (Brij S.) 4. Won by: 3-1/4; 1-3/4; 2; (1-31). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 10; 13; 12; Quinella: 24; Tanala: 63. Fav: Aberdan (6). Winner trained by Bharath S.

5. Calcutta 1000 Guineas 1,600m: (7-1-2-5) Touch of Silver (Prakash) 1; Ancheta (Shanker) 2; Angeles (Kader) 3; Calorescence (C. Alford) 4. Won by: 1-1/4; 1/2; 3/4; (1-39.6). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 12; 130; 11; Quinella: 1,096; Tanala: 3,059. Fav: Angeles (2). Winner trained by Daniel D.

6. Mayfowl Cup 1,400m: (11-5-1-7) Annatto (Kader) 1; Allodium (Rabani) 2; Alternator (Norton) 3; Bold Chieftan (Abraham) 4. Won by: Nk; 3/4; 3/4; (1-27.2). Tote: Win Rs 37; Place: 14; 87; 60; Quinella: 1,277; Tanala: 38,686. Fav: Bold Chieftan (7). Winner trained by Vijay S.

7. Cheviot Handicap 1,100m: (11-3-9-2) Super Smile (Rabani) 1; Winning Hand (Gowli) 2; Starina (Tamang) 3; Crimson King (Connorton) 4. Won by: 1-3/4; 3; Nk; (1-7.2). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 14; 23; 65; Quinella: 124; Tanala: 2,506. Fav: Super Smile (11). Winner trained by Bharath S.

Jackpot: Rs 1,139; (C) Rs 137.

Treble: (i) Rs 59; (ii) Rs 188.

   
 

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