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Dravid, Sachin among runs

Montego Bay: India scored 300 for nine in their first practice game against The Netherlands in the lead-up to the World Cup here Tuesday.

Captain Rahul Dravid top scored with 74 off 92 balls while Sachin Tendulkar made a breezy 61 off 59 balls. Both batsmen hit five fours and two sixes each. Towards the end, Irfan Pathan hit an unbeaten 25 off 21 balls.

Luke van Troost, the captain of The Netherlands team, won the toss and chose to put India in. He indicated that he felt there was a bit of moisture on the pitch and that this would give their seam bowlers an opportunity to make early inroads.

A newly-laid strip, it was expected to play on the slower side. There was a bit of grass on the surface to help bind it, but once set, there was no reason why batsmen should not go on to post a good score.

For The Netherlands this match was a chance to get some time out against quality opposition.

The conditions were perfect for cricket, with clear blue skies greeting the players. The temperature was in the mid 30s centigrade, and a slight breeze blew across the ground.

As in the other practice matches, both teams had the option of using 13 players in the course of the game, although only 11 would bat.

Sachin and Dravid stood for a century partnership after India lost three wickets at the total of 82 to concede the advantage gained from a good start.

Sachinís innings was the most impressive while Dravid provided him good support to set the stage for a big total.

Sachin and Dravid did what their teammates failed to. They cut out the temptation to play the big shots, and against a Netherlands attack that was reasonably disciplined, just picked off the ones and twos.

The runs came easily enough. Sachin was dismised when in a bid to up the scoring rate, he gave himself a bit of room to drive over cover. But he could not beat van Troost at a shortish cover and Tim de Leede had his first wicket of the game.

Dravid, who had spent plenty of time at the crease getting used to the conditions, then clattered a couple of sixes over midwicket against the spin of Mohammad Kashif. He attempted one big shot too many and found Alexei Kervezee at long-on.

After being put in to bat, openers Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly provided a decent start scoring 60 runs for the first wicket. Sehwag played his natural game while Sourav was a bit cautious.

Seamer R Ten Doeschate brought back the minnows into the match by delivering a double blow scalping Sourav (19) and Sehwag (28) in two successive overs.

Sourav committed the crime of pushing a wide ball on the off-side and handed out an easy catch to W F Stelling.

Sehwag, on the other hand, perished to a sharp inswinger which knocked off his middle stump after rushing through the yawning gap between his bat and pad. During his stay at the wicket, the Delhi batsman hit four boundaries to provide some entertainment to the small crowd.

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