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India A retain title with 99-run victory
- MoM Sachin hands over award to Sriram

Bangalore: India A retained the TVS Challenger Series here tonight, thrashing India B by 99 runs in the final. Chasing a victory target of 315 at a run-rate of 6.13, Rahul Dravid’s India B could muster only 215 for nine in 41.1 overs.

Sairaj Bahutule (54 not out) top-scored for India B but eventually ran out of partners.

Ramesh Powar (three for 29) was the most successful bowler for India A.

Yuvraj Singh made 47 off 50 balls, hitting six fours. Dravid made 27 (34 balls, two fours) before being bowled by Sachin Tendulkar, as India B went down without a fight. Once Dravid was out, India B were out of the hunt.

India B were without the services of Dinesh Mongia, when they batted, as he was taken to a hospital for X-Ray after injuring his hand during fielding.

Tendulkar was declared Man of the Match but in a fine gesture handed over the honour to S. Sriram, who made a quickfire 70, saying the Tamil Nadu youngster deserved it more.

Yuvraj Singh was declared Man of the Series.

The domestic cricket caravan now moves to Chennai for the Irani Cup match between Mumbai and Rest of India from September 18.

Shiv Sundar Das, who opened the innings with J. P. Yadav, ran himself out going for a non-existent run. Vijay Bharadwaj was bowled by Irfan Pathan for two, while Yadav (23 off 39 balls, three fours) was caught by Tendulkar off Avishkar Salvi, reducing India B to 58 for three in 12 overs.

Then came the fourth wicket partnership between Dravid and Yuvraj that promised to blossom but was nipped in the bud. A beautiful Tendulkar delivery sent back Dravid who was obviously carrying much of the responsibility. Dravid and Yuvraj added 65 runs. V S Thilak Naidu (1) and Ajit Agarkar (1) were also dismissed cheaply.

Earlier, Tendulkar (88 off 95 balls, 11x4), Sriram (70 off 55 balls, 8x4) and Rohan Gavaskar (49 off 45 balls, 3x4, 1x6) propelled India A, who opted to bat, to a mammoth 314 for six.

Sriram and Rohan put on a 113-run partnership — the highest for the side — for the fifth wicket after India A were 199 for four in the 36th over.

Tendulkar, who opened the innings with Gautam Gambhir (35), played a patient knock and put on 71 for the opening wicket.

Tendulkar was well set for a century but an apparent loose shot cost him dearly as he was taken at long-on by J. P. Yadav off Sarandeep Singh.

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