Sourav smashes back to form
Sachin’s wicket a dream come true: Price
At No. 3, ‘luck’ changes for captain Sourav
Tolly back to winning ways via Akim hattrick
Pritam, Kirtika win
Oil India A in the lead
Nicco win easily
Teams named
Invitational Racing/ Palazzio gets the first call

New Delhi, March 1: 
Left handers seem to have a special affinity for the Kotla Test wicket. Yesterday it was the resurrection of Andy Flower, with a well complied 92 and today it was the resurgence of Sourav Ganguly. The Indian skipper played a sterling, unbeaten knock of 78, inclusive of 11 fours and a towering six in 226 minutes and 159 deliveries.

Sourav’s knock was the cornerstone of India’s innings. He displayed ample patience, application and selection of shots on a turning wicket, with the ball occasionally playing tricks on either the wicked bounce or in keeping low. India were 171 for four at close of play.

It was Sourav’s fourth Test half century as skipper (16th overall). The 78 not out is also his highest knock after his match-winning 98 not out against Sri Lanka in the second Test in Kandy in August last year. The knock not only signified Sourav’s return to form but has also silenced the doubting Thomases and will go a long way in his captaincy bid for the West Indies tour.

Ironically, his patient knock was watched by former skipper Bishan Singh Bedi, who in a TV interview some days ago had commented that keeping Sourav as skipper was like retaining a “pygmy”, whilst the Aussies had the courage to drop a giant like Steve Waugh. Today Sourav had the last laugh.

The only blemish for Sourav today was the run out of Rahul Dravid, which put India on the back foot at four for 144. Sourav played a Brighton Watambwa delivery to mid-on and called for a single. However, seeing that Friend had pounced on the ball, he hurriedly sent Dravid back. But Friend’s sizzling throw with just one stump to aim at, was brilliant.

However, the ultimate mystery today was the silencing of Sachin Tendulkar. He went through his worst run drought in Test cricket. During a particular period after tea, he did not score for 55 minutes and scored just two in 74 minutes. After tea Sachin scored just 12 — eight singles and a four — and survived two lbw appeals off Raymond Price. His distinct discomfort, silenced the raucous crowd, stunned at seeing their icon with feet of clay.

He was uncomfortable in the use his feet against the tight line and length of Price, playing in just his eighth Test. Also for once his timing went awry against the medium pacers Heath Streak and Travis Friend.

Today it was the not the swashbuckling Sachin on view, but instead he became one more case of a God that failed. This tentative knock in Delhi (36 runs in 144 minutes off 119 balls) will probably haunt him for years to come.

Both Indian openers looked comfortable against Watambwa and Streak but could not force the pace. Shiv Sunder was caught behind, trying to flick Streak off his hips.

Deep Dasgupta’s dismissal was strange. He mis-read Friend’s inswinger. The Bengal wicket-keeper-batsman, lifted his bat aloft and padded up to a delivery which instead of swinging away came in and tapped him plumb lbw.

The day started well for India. Jawagal Srinath in a hostile morning spell prevented Dion Ebrahim from scoring his first Test century. Ebrahim played tentatively from the crease to a sharp inswinger. It looked as if the ball struck him on the thigh but Sri Lankan umpire Asoka D’Silva after a pause declared him out lbw. Kumble brought in as soon as Tatendu Taibu came to the crease, struck twice in an over. He had Taibu lbw, a premeditated sweep against a ball which kept low and straight. Two balls later he shattered Price’s stumps with a sharp googly.

Friend impressed with the bat and struck Harbhajan Singh for a towering six over mid-on. However, he tried to repeat the feat and holed out to Sachin at square leg.

The last six Zimbabwe wickets tumbled for just 83 runs (from 246 for 4 to 329 all out. The four wickets today crumbled for just 69 runs in 110 minutes. For restricting Zimbabwe, the Indian bowlers deserve credit for their nagging accuracy.

They prevented skipper Stuart Carlisle from reaching his objective of a first innings total of either 400 runs or even a respectable 350 runs. Carlisle admitted his team finished about 40 runs short of what he would have liked.


New Delhi, March 1: 
Raymond Price and Dion Ebrahim, Zimbabwe’s heroes of the second day’s play, were much sought-after by the media at the Kotla today. Both admitted their performances were among the best of their brief international career.

The 25-year-old Price playing in just his eighth Test said legendary Zimbabwean off spinner John Traicos was his role model. Till today, his best figures were five for 181 against South Africa in Bulawayo last year. He admitted having Sachin in trouble and then getting him out was “like a dream come true, as it was always my dream to get the best batsmen out.”

Price said he enjoys bowling in India as the pitches turn and offer help to spinners unlike in Zimbabwe. He felt the Nagpur wicket was slower than the one at Delhi. Price, who has played in the English league for Churt club, in Guildford, Surrey hoped that Test success would enable him get a good contract in England.

Dion Ebrahim, the 21-year-old son of Pakistani migrants said that his dismissal was not a case of the nervous 90s syndrome. He said that he was more nervous when batting in the 40s than when he was nearing his first Test century. About his dismissal, Ebrahim said “I just missed the ball and felt very disappointed at missing my century.”

His 94 today is his highest Test score but he rated his 71 against South Africa at Harare last year as his best. Zimbabwe skipper Stuart Carlisle felt the crucial wicket would be that of his counterpart, Sourav Ganguly. “We know the Indian skipper is under a lot of pressure to score but we will do our best to get him early.”

Sourav, while leaving the ground, praised the tight line Price bowled today and said that he was difficult to get away with.


Calcutta, March 1: 
The winning captain, usually, is all smiles and is rarely pushed into a corner. Yet, soon after India’s innings victory (over Zimbabwe) in Nagpur on Monday, Sourav Ganguly had two very awkward moments.

First when coach John Wright bluntly spoke about “some of the best players in the team being the worst fielders” and, then, when a scribe pointedly asked: “Captain, is something wrong with you?”

Sourav didn’t have to respond to the coach, but did answer the missile-like question directed at him.

“No… Nothing is wrong with me… I again got set (in the only innings) and, then, threw it away when on 38. I’ve got to end this…”

At the Kotla, today, Sourav did put an end to not building on starts: He finished Day-II of the second and final Test on an unbeaten 78 — his first fifty-plus score since that superb unbeaten 98 at Kandy last August.

It’s a measure of the support Sourav has from teammates that everybody stood up and applauded when he got past the confidence-enhancing fifty-mark. The moment, as it turned out, got documented by the TV camera.

“Am I relieved at finally getting past fifty (after 11 innings)? To an extent, yes, but I personally think I’ve been batting well for the past six weeks (beginning with the ODIs against England),” Sourav told The Telegraph.

[Incidentally, wife Dona and infant daughter Sakshi have joined the captain.]

Contacted at the Taj Palace, he added: “Even in the last Test, I got a start but didn’t get a big score… I accept it was frustrating…”

More than anything else, Sourav needed to spend time in the middle. That done, the runs would come. It got confirmed this evening.

For the record, the captain has already batted for 226 minutes — his longest stay in quite a while, even more than the Man of the Match award-winning innings in Kandy (187 minutes).

Significantly, Sourav got back among the runs at the No.3 position — a slot he personally favours and where he has, in the past, taken guard.

“What prompted me to promote myself? Nothing beyond trying to see if my luck would change,” Sourav replied, laughing.

Given a chance, wouldn’t he have preferred trying to complete the hundred before stumps itself?

“Well… I suppose my experience of 53 Tests will ensure there’s no additional pressure when I resume tomorrow… I’m myself not placing any extra pressure. In any case, I do believe in destiny,” Sourav answered.

The last of Sourav’s hundreds (his seventh) was back in October 1999 — 125 versus New Zealand in Ahmedabad. Since then, he has gone through 39 (completed) innings without touching three-figures.

For somebody who authored a hundred in each of his first two Tests, it’s been quite a wait. Hopefully, it will end some hours from now.


Calcutta, March 1: 
Akim Abolanle scored a hattrick as Tollygunge Agragami returned to winnings ways in the Tata National League at the Salt Lake Stadium today.

HAL, who had created a flutter by defeating Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in the first leg, twice came back after being in the arrears but Tollygunge did well to press home the advantage thereafter to win 3-2.

Tollygunge put up a good show never allowing the League debutants to dominate proceedings. Even the blunders of first-choice goalkeeper Gopal Das did not dampen their spirits as they did well to display the chinks in the rival defence.

Akim’s good positional sense and opportunistic strikes apart, what impressed most was the way Sandip Das and Shasthi Duley called the shots in the midfield and constantly fed their forwards with superb throughs.

The Nigerian struck in the fourth minute, taking advantage of the sluggish Shivamani on the left flank. Asim Biswas’ pass found Akim in the clear and he beat a defender before slotting it home.

Eight minutes later another defensive lapse had the goalkeeper at Akim’s mercy but he failed to capitalise.

HAL equalised in the 19th minute. Sunil Kumar’s header over a charging Gopal Das rolled in as none of the defenders were around to stop it (1-1).

There was another scare for HAL as Akim was set free by a Sandip Das through but the referee turned a blind eye as he was dispossessed after being pulled from behind by a rival defender.

Tollygunge took the lead two minutes from the breather. Moses Owira’s flick from a melee inside the box had Akim pouncing on it in a flash. The left-footer almost tore through the roof of the netting.

HAL equalised two minutes into the second session. Abdyraimiv Danair, one of the three Krygstan players in the team, struck when the goalkeeper failed to misjudge the flight of the ball from the right.

Tolly were paying for the inefficiency of Gopal Das and had to replace him. Sandip Nandy put up a far improved performance and had Das’ inexperience dawned on the coach earlier, Tollygunge could have had it easier.

The match-winner came in the 27th minute of the second session. A brilliant and well combined move between Sandip Das and Duley culminated in Akim scoring with a right footer that gave the goalkeeper very little chance.

Akim now has seven goals in the meet. He could have scored another couple had he shown a little more alertness and discipline in his approach.


TOLLYGUNGE AGRAGAMI: Gopal Das (Sandip Nandy, 50), Srikrishna Ghosh, Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, Amitava Chanda, Mehtab Hossain (N. Khemgtang, 82), Sandip Das, Moses Owira, Sasthi Duley, Satish Bharti, Asim Biswas (Reazul Mustafa, 84), Akim Abolanle.

HAL: Gumpe Rime, Shivamani (Jaikar, 13; Louis Nixson, 81), Parmeswaran, Sunil Kumar, Gnana Prakash, Sunil Kumar, Kenthbek Momotov, Dayananda, Abdyraimiv Danair, Mulisajimmy, Rajabaliev Nurlin.

Referee: M.K. Roy (Assam).


Calcutta, March.1: 
Pritam Bose and Kirtika Mukherjee emerged champions in the sub-junior boy’s and girl’s categories, respectively, of the B.M. Chattoraj memorial table tennis meet. For Pritam, it was am encore as he also won the cadet boy’s title while the same title in the girl’s section was won by Monalisa Mukherjee.

In the finals at the BTA Hall in Kalighat Park, Pritam beat Dipanjan Chowdhury 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 in the sub-junior category while his counterpart Kirtika beat off a spirited Madhurima Das 12-10, 9-11, 12-10, 12-10.

Again in the cadet boy’s Pritam fought off Souvik Kar 8-11, 6-11, 11-2, 12-10, 13-11 and in the cadet girl’s Monalisa Mukherjee saw off Gargi Nag 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-1 in a see-saw battle.


Calcutta, March 1: 
Oil India Limited A went into the lead on Day I of the XXII PSCB inter-unit golf tournament at the Tollygunge Club today.

OIL’s Simarjeet Singh and Manav Das returned excellent sub-par scores of 66 and 68 respectively. Aparup Saikia rounded off a good day for OIL with a round of 71 on the par 70 course.

Indian Oil A came in second with a score of 207 (3-under). Defending champions GAIL scored 213 to finish third.

Leading Team Scores: OIL ‘A’ 205 (66, 68, 71), Indian Oil ‘A’ 207 (66, 70, 71), GAIL ‘B’ 213 (67, 72, 74), ONGC ‘A’ 220 (73, 73, 74). Individual Scores: 66 — Gagan Verma, Simarjeet Singh, 67 — Jaideep Patwardhan, 68 — Manav Das, 70 — Keshav Mishra.

BHA League

Punjab SC and Wari, Belgachia and Behala SA played out goalless draws in the BHA League first division group B matches even as a second division team, Vivid YHC slammed in a record 17 goals versus Aurora AAO. Arun Das and Kamal Kundu both scored hattricks.

Japanese kabaddi team

The Japanese national ladies kabaddi team is expected to arrive in the city tomorrow to take part in the invitational ladies kabaddi tournament to be held from March 4-7, organised by the West Bengal Kabaddi Association to mark its golden jubilee celebrations.


Calcutta, March 1: 
Nicco trounced PWC 21-3, 21-4 while ITC ‘A’ brushed past Wockhardt 21-5, 21-2 in The Telegraph Merchants’ Cup badminton meet at the Saturday Club today.

INDAL got a walkover against The Telegraph while the match between J Thomas and Madhya Bharat Paper has been put off till tomorrow.

Earlier, Eveready beat Rediffusion 21-17, 17-21, 21-0. Blow Plast’s shuttlers wrapped up the day’s action when they beat Citibank 21-12, 21-18.

Inter-camp meet

Chandranath Chatterjee Memorial CCC and Calcutta CCC will clash in the final of the Milo under-19 cricket coaching centre meet tomorrow.

In the semi-finals today, Chandranath beat Belgachia United while CCCC beat Sarsuna Sporting Union.


Sarsuna Sporting Union 137 in 25 ovs. Calcutta CCC 142/4 in 23.3 ovs (Santodeep Paul 47). Calcutta CCC won by 6 wkts.

Chandranath Chatterjee CCC 183/5 in 25 ovs (Avijit Bose 51). Belgachia United 132/6 in 25 ovs (Sudip Palit 45). Chandranath Chatterjee CCC won by 51 runs.


Calcutta, March 1: 
The Bengal men and women’s team for the 52nd national basketball meet to be held at Ludhiana from March 5-12 was announced today.


MEN: Surojit Dey (captain), Monoj Mahato, Amar Swarnakar, Debjyoti Ghosh, Debashish Saha, Tanmoy Das, Biswajit Ojha, Avanish Subba, Amitava Mukherjee, Bikash Agarwal, Sadhan Mondol, Ram Kishore Kumar. Coach: Sukumar Chatterjee

WOMEN : Ajita Nayar (captain), P. Shantha Rao, P. Uttapha, M. Kutty, Rumi Barua, Usri Majumdar, Kasturi Ghosh, Rakhi Bose, Rinki Rakshit, Susmita Das, Santha Halder. Coach: Sabita Majumder


Bangalore, March 1: 
The first day’s frame of the Invitation Cup weekend should have good competition. The Sprinters’ Cup and the Stayers’ Cup, tomorrow’s split attraction to decide the fastest and the grittiest, promises a good fare.

While the Sprinters’ Cup on paper Palazzio 8-10 favourite looks unbeaten. Trainer Bezan Chenoy fields the mare has travelled well and may re-produced her Mumbai form. However, trainer Z. Darashah opined that Symphony of Fire, the last year winner’s chance should not be ruled out. Trainer M. B. Mangalorkar also gives form chance to his ward Blue Hare. All said and done, Palazzio is taken to win. N.G. McCullagh partners the Placerville-Stately Home mare.

In the Stayers’ Cup looks two horses between Appeaser and Alchemy. However, Appeaser’s current performance being very poor it is Alchemy who is fancied to work away with the 3000m race.


1.15 pm: Southern Host 1. Royal Contender 2. London Bells 3.
1.45 pm: Southern Treasure 1. Trap A Spy 2. Enterprisor 3.
2.15 pm: Fast Trick 1. Cool Jazz 2. Slanka 3.
2.45 pm: Claudius 1. Dancing Phantom 2. Rio 3.
3.25 pm: Ampersand 1. Astrid 2. Arduous 3.
4 pm: Palazzio 1. Symphony of Fire 2. Vivid Dreams 3.
4.40 pm: Alchemy 1. Appeaser 2. Classic Rock 3.
5.20 pm: Go Honey Go 1. Soviet Bay 2. Grisogono 3.
6 pm: Regal Society 1. Firecrest 2. Barrones Orzy 3.

Day’s Best: Claudius

Double: Southern Host & Southern Treasure

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