A bold declaration by skipper Sourav Ganguly, a majestic double century by Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar�s 23rd Test century and Jawagal Srinath�s sustained hostility put India in a winning position after Day IV of the first Test against Zimbabwe today.
Only the phlegmatic Andy Flower, who scored 183 not out in the first innings and is still unbeaten on 41, stands between India and yet another comeback victory.
With the top half of their batting order cooling their heels in the pavilion, Zimbabwe are just 83 runs ahead. Play starts 15 minutes early tomorrow and the winter-morning mist and overcast conditions should help the swing and movement of Srinath.
India�s gameplan is to restrict Zimbabwe to a total of around 200 in the second innings some time after lunch. They are then confident of chasing a total of 175 or thereabouts for victory in the remaining time. An exciting day of cricket is on the cards.
The validity of the axiom �fortune favours the brave� was evident in Sourav�s declaration today. With 45 minutes remaining before the tea interval, Sourav called a well-set Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman back to the pavilion. Dravid had just reached his first double century in Test cricket and Laxman was in murderous mood, having struck three fours in his unbeaten knock of 18 off 22 balls.
Tongues started to wag. Old-timers and ex-cricketers felt India should have batted till tea or until they had crossed the 500-run mark to avoid chasing a big total in the fourth innings. But Sourav had other ideas and as the old saying goes, laughed last.
Sourav gained two distinct benefits by this early declaration. It enabled Srinath bowl a sustained, hostile spell of ten successive overs, before and after tea, in which he grabbed three wickets. Before tea, Srinath bowled three overs for eight runs and got the wickets of openers Grant Flower, who bagged a pair, and Gavin Rennie. Refreshed, after the tea interval, Srinath bowled seven pacy overs, which fetched him the wicket of Alistair Campbell, snapped up by a diving Dravid at forward short-leg.
The other benefit of the early declaration was the surprise factor. It seemed to perplex the Zimbabwe batsmen into haste and error. Guy Whittall, well set on 29, chased an outgoing Murali Karthik delivery and holed out to S. Ramesh in the covers. It was Karthik�s first wicket of the match.
It was Sourav�s day at the Kotla. His declaration and two sharp slip catches put India in a winning position. His only blemish was when he dropped a slash by Whittall off a fastish Sachin leg-break. But this did not prove costly as Whittall was dismissed in the next over. Sourav also played a cavalier innings of 27, with a lofted six off Grant, and two boundaries.
In the morning, Sachin and Dravid were in total command. Sachin found the gaps with ease and started with three imperious boundaries, a cover drive, straight drive and square cut of the hapless Brian Strang. Dravid initially played second fiddle as Sachin raced to his 23rd Test century, with another 12 runs off leg-spinner Brian Murphy.
It was Sachin�s first Test century at the Kotla and he is now second in the number of centuries for India in Test matches. Only Sunil Gavaskar, with 34 centuries, has scored more.
Dravid also achieved a personal milestone when he flicked Grant for a single to mid-wicket. He reached his first double century in Test cricket. It was the 19th double hundred by an Indian batsman and Dravid became the 13th Indian batsman to achieve this feat in Test matches.
Zimbabwe�s ground-fielding was praiseworthy and they saved numerous runs with their anticipation and diving stops. However, their bowling lacked penetration. Inadequate bowling and a catch dropped by Campbell when Dravid was on 44 yesterday, could cost Zimbabwe the match.
Selection meeting today
The Indian team for the second Test, beginning in Nagpur Saturday, will be picked tomorrow. The team was supposed to be selected today but apparently, skipper Sourav requested the selectors to wait till the end of the first Test.
The primary cause for concern is the legality of some of his deliveries. �After seeing Grant (Flower) bowl yesterday, the umpires and myself were not entirely happy with the legality of his deliveries,� Jarman said.
Jarman and umpires S. Venkatraghavan and John Hampshire were expected to view some video clippings later in the evening. �If we are not happy, we will send the video to the ICC,� Jarman said.
According to Jarman�s report, Venkat spoke to skipper Heath Streak yesterday, stating that they were not entirely convinced that all of Grant�s deliveries were legal. Yesterday, Grant bowled seven overs. Grant was recently no-balled by Australian umpire Darrel Hair but he was cleared later.
Today, Streak used Grant sparingly and his analysis was 6.4-3-36-0. Midway through his spell, Hampshire talked to Venkat and also spoke to the skipper.
Tripura, staring at an ignominious innings defeat, limped to 104 runs for seven, after Bengal, riding on skipper Devang Gandhi�s unbeaten double century, declared their innings at 458 for four on the penultimate day of the Ranji Trophy league tie at Eden Gardens today.
Tripura, who were bundled out for a paltry total of 170 in the first innings, still require 184 runs to force the hosts to bat again.
Bengal bowlers, notably two debutants Shib Shankar Pal and Sujoy Parui, stuck to an accurate line with the new ball, giving almost no opportunity for Tripura openers to relax.
The breakthrough came in as early as the seventh over when Tripura captain Sourav Dasgupta found no answer to a rising delivery of Pal. The promising medium pacer also accounted for Rajib Deb Barman.
Laxmi Ratan Shukla, used as first-change bowler, struck in quick succession. Pranob Debnath, looking to drive, edged to Utpal Chatterjee in the slips, while Chetan Sachdev got out for naught, chasing a ball well outside the off-stump.
With wickets falling at regular intervals, the visitors never appeared strong enough to put up much of a resistance. That the highest partnership so far in their second innings is 22 (between Deb Barman and Mridul Gupta, and Subol Chowdhury and Gourpada Banik) also implied how one-sided the battle has been.
Both spinners � veteran Utpal Chatterjee and young Wrichik Mazumder maintained a tight line, jointly accounting for three Tripura batsmen.
Parui�s skill of beating batsmen outside the off-stump at will, however, went unrewarded. He gave Tripura wicketkeeper Rajib Dutta some frightful moments, hitting the latter twice, at the fag end of the day.
But Bengal had only themselves to blame for allowing Tripura to survive the day as the home team dropped as many as four catches and failed to claim at least half a dozen half-chances.
Wicketkeeper Saba Karim, whose list of victims (now 203 with 161 catches and 42 stumpings) crossed the coveted 200-mark in the match, however, was the main culprit. The way he dropped a couple of catches and found difficulty in gathering balls behind the wicket today, should give the Bengal selectors a point to ponder on.
Going by his performance in this match, it is apparent he is yet to recover fully from his eye injury.
�My eyes are OK. What I need is more match practice to get my eyes adjusted to the situation,� Karim, however, explained later.
Earlier, the Bengal skipper made a mincemeat of hapless Tripura bowling. Gandhi, who resumed his innings at 128, was in a plundering mood and reached his fourth double centuries in Ranji Trophy in just 272 balls. He effected 27 hits to the rope and three sixes.
Bengal declared their innings at 458, losing the wicket of Karim (22) soon after Devang crossed the significant mark.
He, however, refused to bracket the innings as his best in the domestic league.
�I�m pleased with my performance. But my best knock still remains the one I hit for India A earlier,� he said.
Sachin and Aussie skipper Steve Waugh are the only batsmen to have scored centuries against all Test playing nations, except new entrants Bangladesh.
On his century, Sachin said: �A century is always important and it came at the right time. My partnership (213 runs in 283 minutes) with Rahul (Dravid) helped the team get into a winning position.�
About the pitch, Sachin felt it was now responsive to spin bowling. �It is turning a bit and there is some bounce as well. It should help our spinners on the fifth day,� he said. About the day�s plan, Sachin said the aim was to get set and then go for a big score.
Sachin said they were confident of chasing on the fifth day, in the fourth innings. He felt it was a good decision as it gave the bowlers enough time to bundle out Zimbabwe and the surprise factor also surprised the opposition.
Dravid, who posted his highest Test score, said he was concerned about accelerating so that India could get to a winning position.
In the 48-board knockout semi-finals today, B Todi�s IV, comprising Bivas Todi, S.N. Chunder, Gobinda Singha, Subir Majumdar and A. Roy, started off against Calcutta Bridge Club with a carry-over of 5 IMPs by virtue of their 10-IMP win in the quarter-final match yesterday.
They won the first quarter 22-18 but lost the second 21-24 to leave the match practically even at 48-42 at the half. In the third quarter, however, Todi�s surged ahead with a 48-30 set and rounded off with a 42-25 last quarter to win by 41 IMPs, 138-97.
In the other semi-final, Suparna-Sumona, comprising Sudhir Ganguly, S.B. Lahiri, Alok Sadhu, A.B. Chakraborty, A. Kundu and B. Saha, started with a 9 IMP carry-over against Trambak Rubber but surrendered it all in the first set which they lost 22-31.
A 32-19 second quarter and a 46-33 third saw Suparna-Sumona up by 26 IMPs with one set to go. The last session was bad for Suparna-Sumona but Trambak Rubber failed to capitalise, recovering only 13 IMPs to lose 116-129.
Scores in brief (48-board team semi-finals) : B Todi�s IV bt Calcutta Bridge Club 138-97; Suparna-Sumona bt Trambak Rubber 129-116.
In reply to Barisha�s 204 for six (including eight penalty runs), Paikpara were bundled out for 97.
BRIEF SCORES: Barisha SC 204/6 (Dibyendu Chakraborty 58 n.o.). Paikpara 97 all out (Soumen Karmakar 3/21, Subhrodeep Ganguly 3/28).
Barisha won by 107 runs.
U-22 team announcedBengal announced a 14-member team for their forthcoming match against Assam in the BCCI-conducted under-22 tournament.
The three-day match starts at Krishnanagar from November 28.
THE XIVDharmendra Singh (cap), Tirtha Roy, Swapan Das, Ranabir Nath, Dibyendu Chakraborty, Kushal Dey, Manoj Shaw, Abhijit Sikdar, Shib Sagar Singh, Sandip Halder, Abdul Masood, Ranadeb Bose, Subhrodip Ganguly and Sumit Mishra.
Digboi golf from Dec. 5The Servo Masters golf championship will be back in Digboi from December 5 to 9, and top playesr fo the country will vie for a total purse of Rs 8.5 lakh, a Rs 1 lakh improvement on the last edition.
Among the participants, will be the Wills Tour Order of Merit leader Shiv Prakash, Vijay Kumar, Mukesh Kuar and Firoz Ali, acording to information eraching here. Also in fray will be Rohtas Singh, Ali Sher, Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia, Rafiq Ali are other stars to take part.
RESULTSSt Xavier�s 2 vs South Point 0 (Sourav Sukul bt Yaqub Rahman 6-0, 6-1; Samrat Ghosh bt Mohammed Aqib 6-0, 6-1). La Martiniere 2 vs Shri Doulatram Nopany Vidyalaya 0 (Avinash Rajgaria bt Sanjay Agarwal 6-0, 6-0; Hiteswar Singh bt Rahul Agarwal 6-0, 6-0). St James 2 vs Appejay School 0 (Subhoditya Nath bt Chintan Shah 6-0, 6-2; Vaibhav Bajpai bt Shabib Islam 6-0, 6-0). Don Bosco (Park Circus) 2 vs Jaipuria College 0 (Varun Oberoi bt Jagannath Khan 6-0, 6-0; Nirvick Mohinte bt Sunam Poddar 6-1, 6-0).
The biggest draw is expected to be the feature, the 1,400m Darbhanga Cup. The race may see MAM�s Astronomer taking on the local heavyweight�s stock, Annatto.
The current up-country form of the two horses in contention is satisfactory. More importantly, they have have been rated fairly. It is only their looks and the age that set them apart. Annatto is older by a year which gives an edge to the three-year-old who is set to concede two kg. Brahm Prakash partners the Daniel David-trained youngster by Alnasr Alwasheek out of Oakmead.
Read as: Horse number, last four runs, horse name, trainer, jockey, weight & draw:
1st Race at 1.10 pm
Ethics Handicap 1,100m (Cl V,5-y-o & over�Rated 00-28) Indian jockeys only
1 0200 Work Order [Mujeeb] Surender S. 60.5 5
2 0200 Heaven�s Blessing [Bath] Md Islam 60.0 4
3 4023 Run Ahead [Mujeeb] M. Reuben 58.5 1
4 3444 Magic Ring [Karki] Amjad K. 55.0 2
5 3030 Arizona Star [Mujeeb] G. Upadhya 52.0 3
1. Heaven�s blessing (2) 2. Work Order (1) 3. Run Ahead (3)
Heaven�s Blessing: Has come down considerably at the weights. May strike. Work Order: Very speedy. May out-pace all. Run Ahead: May place..
2nd Race at 1.50 pm
Scottish Law Handicap 1,200m (Cl IV � Rt. 22-50) � Indian jockeys only
1 0010 Storm Trooper [Karki] Amjad K. 61.0 7
2 1000 Rheinheart [Bath] Haroon K. 57.5 6
3 - - - 1 Aileron [Bharath] C. Alford 55.0 2
4 4300 Mountain Memory [Daniel] G. Upadhya 53.5 1
5 3031 Double Dancer [Javed] M. Reuben 53.5 3
6 - 322 Santillana [Daniel] A. Imran K. 51.5 5
7 0140 Global Harmony [Mujeeb] Som S. 50.0 4
1. Santillana (6) 2. Aileron (3) 3. Rheinheart (2)
Santillana: A good second to Annalee who scored again and looks good for another win. Aileron: The three-month lay-off may tell upon her. Rheinheart: May place.
3rd Race at 3.25 pm
Idolator Handicap 1,200m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) � Indian jockeys only
1 - - 03 Alygator [Vijay] C. Alford 60.0 6
2 3230 Friendly Knight [Jaiswal] N. Bird 59.5 4
3 0221 Bird�s Empire [Daniel] B. Prakash 58.5 5
4 0000 Diplomatic Gesture [Bath] S. Shanker 57.5 1
5 - - - 0 Double Cross [Mujeeb] Haroon K. 57.5 2
- ---- Privy Council [Javed] (Withdrawn) 55.5 --
7 4213 Armila[P. Locke] Md Yasin 55.5 3
1. Alygator (1) 2. Bird�s Empire (3) 3. Diplomatic Gesture (4)
Alygator: Lost to Almond Rock and Arctic Fancy�both winners in higher classes. Bird�s Empire: Beat a very poor lot in last start. Diplomatic Gesture: May place.
4th Race at 2.50 pm.
Darbhanga Cup 1,400m (Cl II�Rt. 66-94)
1 - 000 Quickdraw McGraw [Karki] M. Reuben 60.0 3
2 2332 Kansai [Bharath] S. Rabani 55.5 2
3 - - - 0 Premier League [Daniel] A. Imran K. 53.5 1
4 - - 01 Astronomer [Daniel] B. Prakash 51.5 4
5 4434 Amarante [Vijay] A. P. Singh 50.5 6
6 - - 22 Annatto [Vijay] C. Alford 49.5 5
1. Astronomer (4) 2. Annatto (6) 3. Kansai (2)
Astronomer: Goes well over sprints and middle-distances as well. May cash in on his South India form.Annatto: May need the run. Kansai: May place.
5th Race at 3.25 pm.
Primrose Morn Cup 1,600m (Cl IV; Cl V eligible �Rt. 00-50)
1 2133 Bul Bul [P. Locke] D. Locke 60.0 7
2 - - 40 Appeaer [D. Byramji] C. Alford 59.5 8
3 - - 01 Hurricane Star [Stephens] N. Connorton 59.0 2
4 2000 Flying Scot [Javed] S. Salam 58.5 9
5 0000 Falconaire [R. Alford] R. Yadav 55.5 10
6 4012 Alborada [Daniel] B. Prakash 52.0 1
7 - - - 0 Blessed Spirit [Daniel] A. Imran K. 52.0 14
8 - - 20 Supreme Desire [Daniel] A. P. Singh 52.0 6
9 0340 American [Karki] Md Yacoob 52.0 4
10 - - 24 Acaress [Asfand] Khalander 51.0 12
11 - - - 4 Alkido [Bharath] S. Rabani 51.0 3
12 3040 Nearco Prince [Bharath] Md Islam 49.5 13
13 0004 Consul�s Secret [Jaiswal] Salim K. 49.0 5
14 3304 Avionic [Bharath] Md Amil 48.5 11
1. Appeaer (2) 2. Alborada (6) 3. Alkido (11)
Appeaer: Comes from South India with a useful form. Capable of giving the weight and the beating to her rivals. Alborada: Impressive second to Soviet Port in the lower class. May extend the best. Alkido: May upset, though hardly a reliable galloper. Acaress: Looking a picture. May take all by surprise.
6th Race at 4.00 pm
Fitzgrafton Handicap 1100m (Cl III, 5-y-o & over Rt. 44-72)
1 2210 Sky Command [Mujeeb] Haroon K. 60.0 7
2 - - 00 Defiance [Karki] Md Yacoob 56.5 4
3 - - 00 Aznavour [Stephens] N. Connorton 56.0 2
4 - - - 4 Gambino [Daniel] . Prakash 55.0 8
5 4103 Abstract [Daniel] C. Alford 55.0 6
6 4240 High Life [Bharath] S. Rabani 54.5 5
7 2230 Winning Hand [Javed] M. Reuben 51.0 1
8 - - - 0 Sovereign Bullet [Daniel] A. Imran K. 50.5 3
1. Gambino (4) 2. Abstract (5) 3. Winning Hand (7)
Gambino: Needed the run when let down large following in last start. Abstract: May have to beat the stablemate Winning Hand: Upset, if any.
Day�s Best : Alygator