Hoggard exposes real might of the ‘giants’
Aggression important but I don’t like verbal assault: Willis
Captains, coaches warned by Lindsay
Haladhar century lifts Orissa
Manoj, Lata top seeds
City riders dominate
Calcutta Racing/ Touch of Silver best over trip
Bangalore Racing/ Hello Brother may come good
Bangalore Racing/ Axe strikes

Bangalore, Dec. 21: 
England 336
India 218/7

Despite being miles away, Allan Donald continues to torment India. Directly or indirectly, the Donald-effect is telling.

Indeed, had the South African superstar not ‘spotted’ Matthew Hoggard at nets in Leeds, on that 1998 tour of England, the Yorkshireman would probably have now been mulling over career options outside cricket.

As it turned out, Donald recommended Hoggard to the provincial bosses back in Free State and, valuing his judgement, they recruited the strapping quick as their overseas pro in 1998-99. That one season taught Hoggard much and his England call-up didn’t take too long.

Hoggard isn’t as express as Donald, but his tips have surely served him well. This morning, for instance, he unleashed a superb exhibition of seam and swing — more of the latter — to leave India in absolute tatters. Conditions were definitely conducive but, then, it’s also easy to get carried away.

The 24-year-old showed maturity.

Victims in spell No. 1 on a rain-hit Day III of the third and final Hero Honda series Test were vice-captain Rahul Dravid (3) and captain Sourav Ganguly (0). Later, with the second new ball, Hoggard induced Virender Sehwag to guide one into James Foster’s gloves. In between, Ashley Giles — whose approach may be questioned but whose control can’t be ignored — sent back Sachin Tendulkar.

Two days remain for the series to end, but the time has come to review the ‘best batting line-up’ label widely awarded to the Indians. Forget a debate, it’s a richly undeserved label. Despite seven batsmen, after all, the Indians have not just struggled at the Chinnaswamy, but were groping in the dark in Motera as well.

Dravid paid for having been ultra-cautious. Sourav, yet again, chose to undertake Duncan Fletcher’s job of providing catching practice to the slips. Sachin, trying to smash the left-arm spinner inside-out, returned stumped for only the first time in his 89 Tests. As for Sehwag, he reinforced the truism that those who live by the sword, also...

Thankfully, the elements ensured there was no play after the rescheduled tea or, else, India would have been in deeper trouble. Only 186 minutes of cricket — all under floodlights — was possible and, realistically, we should be looking at a draw. India are 1-0 up.

[Tomorrow, the start has been scheduled for 9.30 am.]

Resuming at the overnight 99 for three, India progressed to 149 for five by lunch, with the vice-captain and captain being the ones to get out. Dravid managed a thin edge to a beauty from Hoggard, while Sourav gave enough indications he is neither in form nor high on confidence.

Significantly, Dravid required 73 minutes and 61 deliveries to score three.

“Every batsman goes through a tough phase... Sourav, in my opinion, should trust his eyes and instinct. Obviously, it gets more difficult when criticism mounts,” former England captain David Gower, himself among the most graceful of left-handers, told The Telegraph.

Sourav needs a break and it wouldn’t have been a bad idea had he opted out of this series. Just one fifty-plus score (a briliant 98 not out in Kandy) in a year of Test cricket cannot be anybody’s idea of leading from the front.

Sachin, who was specially bent on making a point or two at Giles’ expense, eventually succumbed to the Warwickshire regular. Getting out in the 90s for the fourth time (second occasion at the magnificent ampitheatre here) will hurt. What could cause more anguish, given the circumstances, is that the often negative Giles had the last laugh.

Giles’ on-cloud-nine response was understandable: He got the world’s numero uno batsman in a manner nobody ever had before. Not even a Shane Warne or a Muttiah Muralidharan.

Before becoming a Giles victim, though, Sachin gave England a reminder as to why it doesn’t exactly pay to frustrate and tease him. He drove, pulled, paddle-swept and, yes, ignored the many bouncers. So much so, Hoggard confessed: “It’s a different ball-game when Sachin is around.”

Bowled over, too, was former England captain Ted Dexter — a cult figure in his time. Speaking exclusively, he said: “Of course, I would pay to watch Sachin... His footwork, balance... It’s exceptional. Also, he does have a brilliant mind.”

Sachin’s 90 came in 263 minutes and off 198 deliveries (13x4). With Sehwag, he added 52 for the sixth wicket. Then, Sehwag and Anil Kumble put on 45 for the seventh — the association ended with Sehwag’s exit (66 in 123 minutes, 88 balls, 13x4).

Sehwag played to the gallery more than once and, clearly, there must also be some discipline in being positive. Right through his innings, he had close calls. Actually, Sehwag was dropped on one itself (by Andrew Flintoff) off Hoggard.

Assuming the elements don’t interfere, England are bound to turn on the heat. Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, then, will have to consistently offer a straight bat.


Bangalore, Dec. 21: 
With 325 Test wickets, former England captain Bob Willis does know more than a thing or two about fast bowling. Few, in fact, are better qualified to talk about what obviously is “arduous” business.

Willis, who is in India on assignment with Sky Sports, spoke to The Telegraph last evening. A tight schedule notwithstanding, he kept himself “free” for a good half-hour.

The following are excerpts

On what makes a quality fast bowler

Determination. A good wrist action. Mental and physical fitness. Being fit in the mind is important as fast bowling is a very arduous business and there will be many days when the edges won’t materialise or catches won’t be held. And, so, mental resilience is necessary. Despite a ‘bad’ day, the quick must still be ready for the new ball 45 minutes before stumps.

On what prompted him to become a fast bowler

(Smiles) In the winters, I was forced to play rugby in school (Royal Grammar, at Guildford) and the really big guys would push me around. It’s then I decided I would get even by trying to knock their head off in the summers — I could only have done so as a quick. As it turned out, I did give one or two chaps a bit of a fright.

On the fast bowler he idolised

Brian Statham. We were in Manchester for five years when I was very young and the first cricket ground I went to was Old Trafford. Statham was with Lancashire and he made a big impression each time I saw the County play. Unfortunately, Statham never quite got applauded like a Fred Trueman but, believe me, he was a very accurate and supremely fit quick. Moreover, his attitude towards his job and cricket in general was positive.

On the opening partner he was most comfortable with

I was fortunate to have started my international career alongside John Snow. Clearly one of the greats, Snow should actually have played much more for England... But, then, he wasn’t the Establishment’s most favoured boy... My most effective partnership, though, was with Ian Botham. In conditions at home, Ian would swing the ball a long way and had the capacity for long spells. As for me, I would bowl downwind in short spells. In the late Seventies and early Eighties, the two of us must have picked up a majority of the wickets.

On his understanding with Botham

Look, no matter what the conditions — the state of the wicket, the climate — I bowled quick in short bursts. Ian, on the other hand, could bowl for long and get the ball to reverse-swing as opposed to just intimidating batsmen when the ball was hard. Let’s say we complemented each other.

On a fast bowler being aggressive with a capital A

Aggression is important, though I don’t particularly like a verbal assault. Indeed, with stump-microphones and slow-mo cameras, launching a verbal assault won’t exactly send the right message to youngsters. Fast bowling is a hard, physical job and, so, the odd word will be said. It shouldn’t go beyond that.

On the fitness aspect, specially considering the amount of cricket currently being played

What is bound to happen is that instead of a shelf-life of around 12 years, the quicks’ career will be of about eight years... Keeping the fitness factor in mind, fast bowlers will have to be selectively fielded. And, when this comes about, they must be financially compensated. Of course, I’m not suggesting a Jawagal Srinath be paid more than a Sachin Tendulkar.

On whether bowler-captains invariably end up either under-bowling or over-bowling themselves

(Grins) At least I didn’t have a problem... Generally, it depends on the team’s balance. Five bowlers, including three in the fast category, will mean a less of a burden. It could be different if the XI has just four specialist bowlers (including the captain).

On life being more difficult for bowler-captains as opposed to a batsman-captain

Well, even among bowler-captains, I suppose it’s easier for a captain who bowls spin. It’s definitely very demanding on a fast bowler-captain, which is why not many have been successful in a big way. Having said that, let me add I’m not an excuse-maker and remain very proud of my record as England captain (seven wins and five losses in Tests, 16 victories and 13 defeats is ODIs). And, do remember that when I was captain (1982-84), over a dozen of our best players were banned for having toured South Africa... Therefore, I never quite got to captain England’s strongest team.

On the most outstanding fast bowlers of his time

Dennis Lillee and Malcolm Marshall. Both were complete quicks, effective on any surface. Marshall, specially, could swing at high pace even when the ball was old.

On the most outstanding fast bowlers of the present era

(After a pause) Well, they don’t have express pace, aren’t in the Brett Lee category, but I doubt if anybody is better than Glenn McGrath and Shaun Pollock. Both have a superb wrist action, don’t expend too much energy in running up to the wicket and, just as important, bowl a great line. Because of their wicket-to-wicket line, if the batsman misses, he will either be leg-before or bowled... They hardly ever offer a half-volley and, if they do, curse themselves. Both, incidentally, bowl from close to the stumps.

On the complete fast bowler

A combination of Courtney Walsh (fitness and longevity), Lee’s aggression and Pollock’s accuracy. Looking back, the ideal mix would have been the accuracy of Joel Garner, the aggression of Lillee and Michael Holding’s pace.

On newcomer Tinu Yohannan

Very impressive. He was a bit loose to begin with (first innings in Mohali) but, then, quickly made amends. Has lots of promise and, more important, is willing to learn.

Finally, his message to youngsters aspiring to become a tearaway

(Smiles again) When young, all of us think we can do anything... Yet, fitness doesn’t come easy. Having suffered in the first five-six years of my career, I’m talking from first-hand experience... So, it’s important to be supremely fit physically. That accomplished, mental fitness will also come about.


Bangalore, Dec. 21: 
Despite publicly maintaining (last evening) that “nothing untoward” had occurred in the post-tea session of the final Test yesterday, Match Referee Denis Lindsay did, in fact, “warn” both captains (Sourav Ganguly, Nasser Hussain) and coaches (John Wright, Duncan Fletcher) to not breach the spirit of the game.

This morning, Lindsay released a note (jointly signed by him and Board secretary Niranjan Shah) which read: “The Match Referee, being the chairman of the Playing Control Team, had an informal meeting with the captains and coaches, warning them to play the game in the spirit of cricket. The captains will be totally responsible for the actions of their players.”

One understands Hussain himself conveyed Lindsay’s thoughts to his team before taking the field today (Day III). Specifically, the players were advised to cut out the verbal bit.

There had been an exchange between the Shiv Sundar Das-Sachin Tendulkar twosome and the Hussain-Ashley Giles duo just before and during the last drinks break on the second day. Umpires A.V.Jayaprakash and Asoka de Silva had intervened then itself and, later, Lindsay too got into the act.

To Lindsay’s credit, he has adopted the make-them-understand approach, instead of behaving like a headmaster hell bent on disciplining. “If you wish, call it a fatherly way of intervening, but this has always been my style,” the former South African wicketkeeper told The Telegraph.

Besides the exchange of words, the Indians were upset by Giles’ often negative line. Indeed, umpires are now empowered to call a wide if convinced the bowler is deliberately adopting “negative tactics.” The umpires, however, didn’t book the left-arm spinner.

Incidentally, Sachin has a one-Test suspended sentence hanging over his head till December 31, while Shiv Sundar’s suspended sentence is operative till January 31. Sourav will also be watched till then. But, there’s a difference: Any violation of the Code of Conduct will see him miss not just a Test, but two ODIs as well.

All this, of course, is thanks to Mike Denness.


Calcutta, Dec. 21: 
Bengal today put Orissa in to bat on the first day of their Vijay Merchant (under-16) match at Eden Gardens.

Orissa made good use of the hosts’ offer, ticking off 231 for eight in 91.1 overs till day-end, as Haladhar Das hit up a Nelson and remained unbeaten. Toning down the Orissa charge were bowlers Saurav Dutta (three for 51 runs) and T. Sengupta (three for 35).

CAB junior cricket

Cricket Clinic (Ballygunge), SALAB, Belgachia Tarun Sangha and Tapan Memorial today won their respective matches in the Pepsi CAB junior cricket meet at different venues. These were second round matches of the 115-point category meet. Cricket Clinic Ballygunge have entered the pre-quarter finals where they meet Calcutta Cricket Academy.


Cricket Clinic (Ballygunge) 236/8 (Saumik Mukherjee 123, Sasank Sekhar Tapikar 48; Kamal Hassan 3/54). Shute Banerjee CCC 152 (Avishek Shaw 77 n.o., Bivas Dutta 41). CC Ballygunge won by 84 runs.

Vijay Sports 84 (S. Ghosh 40). SALAB 85/1 (K. Chowdhury 56). SALAB won by 9 wkts.

Belgachia TS 170/7 (D. Bose 57). Dukhiram CCC 88/8. Baghajatin won by 82 runs.

Tapan Memorial 189/3 (T. Bhattacharya 55 n.o.). Manicktala CC 58/7. Tapan Memorial won by 131 runs.


Calcutta, Dec. 21: 
Manoj K. Sewa of Bengal and Lata Assudani of Tamil Nadu are the top seeds in the boys’ under-18 and girls’ under-18 categories of the second Adhip Mukerjea Memorial AITA junior tennis championships to be held from Monday to December 30 at the Jaidip Mukherjea Tennis Academy in Salt Lake.

Jaidip said today that the total participation will be of about 250 of the best junior talent of the country, for a total prize packet of Rs 50,000 in this Indian Oil-sponsored meet. Matches will be played in four categories.

The top seed among under-16 girls is Delhi’s Parul Goswami, and among under-16 boys is Bengal’s Rupesh Roy.


Girls U-16: 1. Parul Goswami (Delhi); 2. Sandri Gangotri (Andhra Pradesh); 3. Priyanka Parekh (Bengal); 4. Shilpa Dalmiya (Delhi).

Girls U-18: 1. Lata Assudani (TN); 2. Ragini Vimal (Ben); 3. Parul Goswami (Dli); 4. Swetha Devaraj (TN).

Boys U-16: 1. Rupesh Roy (Ben); 2. L.S. Anantha Baskar (TN); 3. Anshuman Dutta (Assam); 4. Jitin Bishnoi (Haryana).

Boys U-18: 1. Manoj K Sewa (Ben); 2. Dhruv Kumar (Ben); 3. Varun Giri (Dli); 4. Viraj Bhargav (Dli).

Big money golf

Big money golf could be back on the Indian scene with the $ 300,000 Royal Challenge Indian Open in association with the Indian Golf Union, says a release from Shaw Wallace and event managers IMG. This will be the first time that the Open could be back on course after ITC pulled out of the sponsorship scenario because of restrictions on tobacco advertising. The sponsors, Shaw Wallace, and IMG say that there will also be a fourleg Royal Challenge Grand Prix, the Calcutta leg of which will be in February.

Amateur meet

The matchplay first round in the Goodricke East India amateur meet at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club Friday saw a close fight in which Gurbaaz Mann of Chandigarh beat Jasjeet Singh of Noida on the 22nd hole, mainly with the help of an eagle on the par 5 fourth hole. Others winning off close contests today were Raj Singh of Noida, Gagan Verma, Ashok Kumar and Sandeep Sayal of Chennai.

Cricket for the blind

Gaurav Goenka will lead the Bengal team to the Blind Cricket Association of Bengal-organised East Zone meet for the blind in Ranchi from January 9 to 13. The teams taking part are Bengal, Jharkhand, Tripura and Bihar, according to a press release.


Calcutta, Dec. 21: 
The third day of the junior and sub-junior equestrian championships at the Tollygunge club was again action packed with city ridersholding the centre-stage.


Jumping Top Score: Shaurya (astride Ringo, Chennai Equestrian Academy).

Confined Riding: Varun Todi (Supreme Choice, Tolly).

Individual Tent Pegging – Junior National: Col Vishal Chowman (Tasrim, NDA, Dehra Dun).

National Children – I Hacks: Souja Futsmally (Hurricane, LC).

National Children – II Hacks: Raunak Banerji (Chote Miya, Tolly) and Ariva Bidappa (Slash, EI).

Child’s Pony Event – Medium A: Pijush Dutta (Kush, FWRI).

Child’s Pony – Medium B: Ambalika (Toy, Tolly).

National Children – I: Hitesh Ajmera (Silver Streak, Tolly).

National Children – II: Raunak Banerjee (Shamsher, Tolly).

Sub-Junior Natl: Masaliya Ande Ali (Ratio, CEA).

Confined Jumping: Varun Todi (Memorable Day, Tolly).


Calcutta, Dec. 21: 
Bred to stay, the Serious Spender-Corviglia three-year-old filly Touch of Silver may be hard to toss in the 2,400 Usha Stud Calcutta Oaks tomorrow. B. Prakash partners the Daniel David-trained filly.

The Eveready Calcutta Gold Cup, the sporting event, may see The Archer coming good following his impressive second to Antequera in the Calcutta 2,000 Guineas. K. P. Appu partners the J. Stephens-colt.


12 noon: Archery 1. Tsaynen Blue 2. Impressive Prince 3.

12.35 pm: Sagittarian 1. Royal City 2. Altigraph 3.

1.05 pm: Allaying 1. Winning Glory 2. Ballet Master 3.

1.45 pm: Peace Envoy 1. Calabash 2. As A Rule 3.

2.20 pm: Pearl Dragon 1. Rare Gold 2. Soviet Port 3.

2.50 pm: Touch of Silver 1. Calorescence 2. Arristo 3.

3.25 pm: The Archer 1. Bold Chieftan 2. Access All Areas 3.

4 pm: Comedy of Errors 1. Queen’s Logic 2. Ornate Crown 3.

Day’s Best: Touch of Silver

Double: Peace Envoy & The Archer


Bangalore, Dec. 21: 
Hello Brother stands out best among the seven to lift the 2,000m Delhi Race Club Cup, tomorrow. Ryan Marshall partners the Arjun Mangalorkar-trainee.


2.30 pm: Slovania 1. Limitations 2. Secret Silver 3.

3 pm: Tassha 1. I Me And Mine 2. Laplander 3.

3.30 pm: Stormsky 1. Brave Russian 2. Narvar 3.

4 pm: Hello Brother 1. Spirited Effort 2. Air Strike 3.

4.30 pm: Rio Tinto 1. Ek Ek Ek 2. Anchor 3.

5 pm: Wovoka 1. Figaro 2. Mumbai Dacner 3.

5.30 pm: Solar Power 1. Masti 2. Beautiful Bird 3.

Day’s Best: Tassha

Double: Stormsky & Rio Tinto


Bangalore, Dec. 21: 
C. Kuts’ ward Axe, ridden by Sho-bhan Babu won the Garden City Cup in Bangalore on Friday.


(With inter-state dividends)

First race: Indigenous (Marshall) 1; Stingaroo 2; Proflare 3. (W) Rs 43; (P) 16; 17; 32; (Q) 89; (T) 1,196. Fav: Dream Coat.

Second race: Wool U Gooli (Md Shafiq) 1; Nesara 2; Nagarhole 3. (W) Rs 58; (P) 17; 26; 27; (Q) 167; (T) 2,761. Fav: Dancing Beat.

Third race: Mayfair (Norton) 1; Our Ambition 2; Pink Squirrel 3. (W) Rs 64; (P) 19; 12; 26; (Q) 40; (T) 959. Fav: Our Ambition.

Fourth race: Axe (Shobhan) 1; Crystal Sky 2; Spark of Life 3. (W) Rs 42; (P) 27; 31; (Q) 203; (T) 1,192. Fav: Crystal Moment.

Fifth race: Aveste (Marshall) 1; Crown Ice 2; South Cove 3. Not run: Startrix (W) Rs 29; (P) 14; 13; 92; (Q) 43; (T) 2,038. Fav: Aveste.

Sixth race: Trillenniium (S. Narredu) 1; Icelandic Hope 2; Shining Conquest 3. (W) Rs 20; (P) 11; 16; 80; (Q) 35; (T) 941. Fav: Thrillenniium.

Seventh race: Always Dancing (Norton) 1; Crystal Delight 2; Arduous 3. (W) Rs 37; (P) 12; 31; 33; (Q) 144; (T) 1,697. Fav: Always Dancing.

Jackpot: Rs 2,156; (C) Rs 229.

Treble: (i) Rs 972; (ii) Rs 96.


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