Sourav, Joshi save India the blushes
Kumble to meet Dr Fergusson in Chennai
Rally rolls back into town
Bangalore Races/ Allaire strikes

Dhaka, Nov. 12: 
INDIA 366/7

Two debatable verdicts. Two seemingly never-ending spells. Two innings of substance. Two captains leading from the front...

Day-III of Bangladesh�s inaugural Test saw quite a bit of action, but bottomline is India still haven�t got past the hosts� first innings effort. It�s been a dream come true for Bangladesh, and a nightmare for India.

In fact, half the Indian side was back in the pavilion (190 for five) even before the follow-on had been �avoided�. Not that India were ever in danger of having that ignominy heaped, but the technical possibility did exist and it only underlines the extraordinary nature of Bangladesh�s first three days in the big league.

Yesterday, Bangladesh found a centurion in Aminul Islam (not surprisingly, a Steve Waugh-worshipper) and, today, off-spinner-captain Naim-ur Rehman totalled five victims.

Of course, the Indians could argue the day may have been different had Rahul Dravid and nightwatchman Murali Karthik not been given out, in controversial manner, by David Shepherd and Steve Bucknor, respectively. There was some confusion over Sachin Tendulkar�s dismissal, too, but replays confirmed substitute Rajin Saleh Alam, at short leg, had taken him off bat-pad.

Then, Sourav Ganguly will rue going for a one-day hit when on a fantastic 84, and being taken deep in the country. A third hundred (after two in the ODIs) at the National Stadium was there for Sourav�s asking. Only once before, incidentally, has Sourav not got a hundred after moving into the Eighties � three years ago, against Sri Lanka, when he fell on 99 in Nagpur.

But the dice rolling the other way isn�t uncommon in cricket and India must now force whatever lead they can and go for Bangladesh�s jugular from the very start of their second innings. This Test isn�t quite over.

Resuming the India quest will be the pugnacious Sunil Joshi (71 not out, in 152 minutes, 112 balls, 8x4) and Ajit Agarkar. Joshi has had a fruitful outing, tempting one to again consider him a genuine allrounder. Back in the summer of 1996, Joshi did make the cut as one, but the script unfolded differently thereafter.

This afternoon, Joshi was dropped early by Al-Shahriar Rokon and, then, was lucky not to get run out (foolishly seeking a third run with Sourav as striker). Yet, this low-profile but committed performer deserves every slice of good fortune.

Sourav and Joshi added 121 for the seventh wicket, a partnership posted in handsome time. Joshi, in fact, wasn�t the junior partner: He contributed 67 and the career-best runs included superbly timed shots. Actually, Joshi picked the gaps with more ease than even vice-captain Dravid.

If Sourav and Joshi pulled India from the precipice, pushing the team there was Naim-ur and Mohammed Rafique. Naim-ur and the left-arm spinner, Rafique, had marathon opening spells of 27 and 22 overs, respectively. Later, the captain returned for six overs, while Rafique�s spell No. 2 was of 11.

Neither indicated they were overwhelmed playing the biggest game of their life. Nor were they overawed by the reputation of the Indian line-up. Naim-ur didn�t even hesitate to attack Sachin with close-in fielders and, as it turned out, that paid dividends.

A feature of their bowling was the consistently excellent line. Only rarely was any width given and, more often that not, the Indians presented a tentative bat. Once regarded as the most accomplished players of spin the Indians, today, have slipped in the rankings.

The day began with Sadagopan Ramesh and Karthik taking guard afresh. Ramesh, however, didn�t stay for long. He did register yet another fifty (sixth in ten Tests), improving on an already phenomenal average of just under-50, but inside-edged Bikash Ranjan Das when he was set to add to his six boundaries.

Dravid was given out next, though it appeared he only got the pad to Rafique and not bat. He didn�t hide his surprise. Not that Dravid was oozing authority, but his dismissal always is a blow.

Whether it was Tony Mann in the Seventies or Nicky Boje, earlier this year, numerous nightwatchmen have frustrated India. Today, Karthik settled scores by staying put till after lunch.

Karthik was on 43 (159 minutes, 119 deliveries, 5x4) when Bucknor adjudged him caught off bat-pad. That looked another miscarriage of justice but, whatever the misgivings, another wicket fell.

Sachin, very cautious to begin with, was wicket No. 5: Drawn half-cock forward and deceived more by the bounce than turn from Naim-ur. The delight on the face of substitute Alam, who took the catch, said everything. He missed out on making the historic XI, but having a hand in Sachin�s dismissal gave him something to treasure.

Syed Saba Karim, under pressure after an indifferent performance with the big gloves, suggested he would keep Sourav company for more than 59 minutes. But, he went stumped, a verdict announced after third-umpire Mahbubur Rahman was consulted.

It took Saba Karim 11 years, from his maiden India call-up, to earn the first Test cap but, thus far, it hasn�t been this debutant�s match.

Bangladesh, by the way, had to do without their chosen wicketkeeper, Khaled Masud, for almost the entire day after he took a Hasibul Hossain ball on his left knee cap. Stand-in Shahriar Hossain, though, was equal to the task.    

Dhaka, Nov. 12: 
Anil Kumble, who has been off cricket for three weeks with a bowling-shoulder injury, will soon meet Dr Mark Fergusson, treated as a demi-God by many sportsmen, in Chennai.

The Johannesburg-based orthopaedic surgeon will be in Chennai for a seminar, according to the Indian team�s physio-cum-physical trainer Andrew Leipus. Among others, Dr Fergusson has treated Jawagal Srinath (1997) and Ajay Jadeja (1999).

�Dr Fergusson�s coming to India is a happy coincidence, at this point in time, and Anil will go across to Chennai for an examination. I do believe that merely presenting the MRI report for an opinion won�t serve the purpose,� Leipus told The Telegraph.

Leipus, too, will try and be present. �It will depend on when exactly Dr Fergusson sees Anil... We finish the Test here Tuesday and the one in New Delhi (against Zimbabwe) begins Saturday. So, there�s hardly a break,� he remarked.

The physio-cum-physical trainer added: �Basically, we want a first-hand opinion from the No. 1 professional. And, personally, I wouldn�t like Anil to make himself available till he is fully fit. Besides the pain not being there, the arm-movement has to be free... He�s too important a player...�

Leipus reiterated Kumble�s injury was �unusual�, but didn�t elaborate. �I do suspect something, but wouldn�t like to comment till Dr Fergusson has given his opinion. After all, he�s the specialist.�

In Leipus� opinion, though, Kumble �doesn�t� require surgery.

�It was in Sharjah, last month, that Anil complained of pain � which no longer was just an irritant � in his bowling shoulder. He first felt it two-three months earlier (in England, playing for Leicestershire), but it then was just a niggle... Pending a professional opinion, I advised immediate rest,� Leipus said.

It appears, then, Kumble will not be available for the two Tests, versus Zimbabwe � the second, in Nagpur, begins November 25.

Meanwhile chief selector Chandu Borde, here as an invitee of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, returns home tomorrow ahead of the selection meeting.    

Calcutta, Nov. 12: 
The Telegraph-WagonR motor rally concluded today, with some top drivers overnight pushed behind, and a participant put in a complaint that he was late in the Bishnupur jungle because he had to let a herd of elephants pass.

That added the wild side to the rally that has reopened the Calcutta-Jamshedpur track for motoring adventurers. No major incident was reported and though even the provisional results were not declared, among those in contention for the top spot are Santanu Ganguli and Gulrukh Ganguli (Esteem), Prasanta Paul and Sumit Mukherjee (Esteem), Vijay Goenka and Sudeep Gupta (Zen) and Mitil Chakraborty and Bhavesh Dhabaria (Esteem).    

Bangalore, Nov. 12: 
Aslam Kader guided D.Byramji�s Allaire to an easy win in the Karnataka Police Trophy in Bangalore on Sunday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Beginners Plate 1,200m: (6-5-4) Rainbow Flash (Prakash) 1; Discuss 2; Rasna 3. Won by: 7-1/2; 1-1/2; (1-17.4). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 12; 14; 25; Quinella: 18; Tanala: 67. Fav: Rainbow Flash (6).

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4. Karnataka Police Trophy 1,400m: (3-2-6) Allaire (Kader) 1; Crystal Man 2; Haynes Park 3. Won by: 2; 2-1/2; (1-27.8). Tote: Win Rs 13; Place: 12; 16; 19; Quinella: 28; Tanala: 94. Fav: Allaire (3).

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6. Chintamani Plate 1,200m: (3-2-7) Amalgamate (Shobhan) 1; Contour 2; Beautiful Bird 3. Won by: 4; 3-3/4; (1-18). Tote: Win Rs 87; Place: 24; 34; 40; Quinella: 507; Tanala: 5,400. Fav: Mount Genius (12).

Jackpot: Rs 4,674; (C) Rs 183.

Treble: (i) Rs 108; (ii) Rs 470.    


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