The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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India struggle once again
- Hosts’ handicap robs tie of first-class status

Brisbane, Nov. 29 (PTI): The touring Indians lost three wickets in seven balls after their bowlers were put on the rack by a second-string Queensland side on Day I of the three-day game on Saturday.

The ragged Indian bowling attack once again let a batting reputation grow at their expense and their batsmen did little better in the seven overs possible to crumble to 17 for three at close against Queensland Academy of Sports XI.

Lee Carseldine, playing his first game of the season after recovering from a knee injury, smashed a brilliant century as the home team declared at 304 for six, half-an-hour before close. The hosts backed their decision sensationally, removing the openers and wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta, who came in at No. 3.

Scott Bryant, a left-arm paceman of Zimbabwe-origin, removed Akash Chopra and Deep off successive deliveries in his second. The Indian stumper may consider himself unlucky for being adjudged leg-before as he had played well forward.

India suffered another blow at the other end when Virender Sehwag offered a catch down the leg side to wicketkeeper Chris Hartley who completed a very good catch.

So depleted was the Queensland team that the match was not accorded first class status. Both teams were allowed to rotate their 12 players during the match though only 11 could bat. It allowed the Indians to keep Rahul Dravid in the 12 though the vice-captain was allowed a day off the field due to flu.

The Indians misfielded, overthrew and dropped catches and perhaps the only thing in their defence was they kept an attacking field throughout with no fielder in the deep.

Anil Kumble picked up four wickets but neither he nor any other Indian bowler looked particularly threatening on a placid pitch with short boundaries and a fast outfield. Carsledine walked in to bat in the second over of the day and stayed till well after the tea break when he was smartly caught by Deep who kept brilliantly against both pacers and spinners.

Deep showed his concentration was still good at the fag end of a hot day when he made a difficult stumping look easy to get rid of Craig Philipson who at 85 was looking good to be the second centurion of the day for the hosts. Philipson’s runs came from 138 deliveries with 12 fours and a towering six off Kumble.

Carseldine, a regular in the Queensland XI, made 112 off 190 deliveries, hitting 15 fours and a six. The top-scorer for Queensland last season with 709 runs at 44.31 looked in excellent touch as he hit through the line and mostly with the full face of the bat.

The Indians began on a poor note when V.V.S. Laxman dropped opener Chris Simpson in the slips in the first over of the match by Ajit Agarkar. Later, Akash Chopra at silly point failed to hold on to a catch off Philipson with Kumble being the bowler.

Simpson tore into Indian bowling, Agarkar in particular.

Simpson also once flicked Irfan Pathan over the mid-wicket fence for six to deflate the left-arm paceman who started off well by claiming a wicket off his very first ball of the tour, a leg-before shout against Daniel Payne.

Simpson finally departed when he gave a catch back to Agarkar after making 43 from 46 balls with eight fours and a six.

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