Sri Lanka lord it over the Indians
John Wright set to get an extension
Exposure at A level helped: Samaraweera
Bhutia unlikely for camp
Trouble tags on to city soccer
IOA imports Chef-de-Mission
Sudip, Gouranga set records in pool
Pune Racing/ Endorsement for Eve ChampionTrophy
Gold Street Trophy/ Count Dracula triumphs
Track Trials/ Allosaki, Queen�s Logic shine

Colombo, Aug.31: 
INDIA 234, 28/0
SRI LANKA 610/6 decl.

Four centurions on either side. The one big difference is the Sri Lankans actually scored the hundreds, while four Indians conceded three-figure runs. This, then, puts into perspective the direction this series-deciding SSC Test has taken.

Still in arrears by 348 runs, the Indians will have to bat out of their skins to save the third and final game (and the series). Two days remain, but the wicket is playing true and, if Sourav Ganguly�s team plays a shade above potential, defeat may be averted. Problem, of course, is the Indians� frightening inconsistency.

Incredibly, while four Lankans posted centuries in one innings, not a single Indian has got to three-figures in the entire series. Hardly encouraging but, at least now, somebody should learn from the Maravan Atapattus and Hashan Tillekeratnes. Both had little to show till this Test got underway. Today, they are absolute heroes.

The time, clearly, has come for the Indians to put a heavy price tag on each of their wickets. Significantly, Lanka�s 610 for six declared is the highest-ever at the SSC and just thrice earlier have four batsmen taken centuries off India in a single innings.

�I haven�t given up hope... But, yes, we will really have to bat well. The one positive thing is that the wicket isn�t playing games and, so, saving the Test should be on,� observed Sourav, during a brief chat with The Telegraph. Incidentally, the captain will need �proper� treatment for an abdominal strain, on returning home Monday.

In keeping with his customary business-like assessment, Lankan coach Dav Whatmore had this to say: �Yes, we are in a great position. The worry, though, is getting ten wickets on this surface... It�s going to be tough, that�s for sure.�

Lanka began Day-III on 323 for five and, in batting till 67 minutes after tea, only lost Mahela Jayawardene. Much of the early attention was on Jayawardene completing his second century of the series (seventh overall). Gradually, centrestage was monopolised by veteran Tillekeratne and debutant Tilan Samaraweera.

In fact, the pair added an unseparated record-erasing 194 for the seventh-wicket and both registered centuries, with the declaration being effected as soon as the debutant got his. The 24-year-old Samaraweera had reason to be overjoyed. He leapt, hugged Tillekeratne (runner Russell Arnold, too) and kissed the Lanka crest on his helmet.

Samaraweera�s last 20-odd runs came with the help of a runner, as he was in discomfort owing to cramps. That, however, didn�t hamper the Lanka A captain�s strokeplay and it�s with a boundary that he became his country�s third centurion (after Brendon Kuruppu and Romesh Kaluwitharana) on debut.

Included (at Suresh Perera�s expense) largely for his off-spin, Samaraweera has now given the Lankan thinktank an exciting option to balance the team even better.

Getting to the three-figure mark much earlier was Tillekeratne. And, really, he couldn�t have timed it better. But for captain Sanath Jayasuriya and Whatmore�s insistence, the selectors would have dropped him for this game.

As it turned out, Tillekeratne�s career-best 136 not out (316 minutes, 214 deliveries, 16x4) more than thanked the captain-coach duo for their faith. Tillekaratne�s last century (his sixth) was way back in 1996. But, then, till this series, he had been sidelined for all of 29 months.

One hopes the Hemang Badanis will draw the appropriate lesson and, belatedly at least, justify the faith shown by Sourav and coach John Wright.

�I�m grateful to all seniors for their support... I was a bit more relaxed in this innings (vis-a-vis the ones in Galle and Kandy) and that did make a difference. I wish to dedicate this effort to my parents and wife Apsari,� remarked the 34-year-old Tillekeratne, speaking exclusively.

Tillekeratene�s recall had much to do with his ability to effectively counter spin. In this innings, though, he was hardly stretched. Rather, be it pace or spin, Tillekeratne drove, cut, pulled and swept with minimum effort. He has never been regarded a dashing strokemaker, yet has always been a committed utility man.

In some ways, Tillekeratne exemplifies Lankan cricket.

Samaraweera�s unbeaten 103 came in 201 minutes and off 175 balls (10x4) and his furiously-paced stand with Tillekeratne was at almost a run a minute (194 in only 201 minutes). Earlier, Jayawardene was dismissed for a classy 139 (339 minutes, 216 deliveries, 14x4, 1x5, 1x6), an innings which saw the late-cut, a stroke rarely executed nowadays.

Yesterday, vice-captain Atapattu had become the innings� first centurion.

Matching the handsome pace of Day-II (the Lankan innings began late on the first day), the home team totalled 97 in the first session, 103 between lunch and tea and, then, exploded in the 67 post-tea minutes (till the declaration): Seventy seven runs were added, with 53 being credited to Samaraweera who, predictably, got more of the strike.

Ironically, unlike walking in at a leisurely pace, the Indians had literally sprinted back after tea, body-language oozing josh. That, however, went for a toss within minutes.

Sourav utilised an extra bowler today, in the form of Sadagopan Ramesh, but the script didn�t quite change. Neither did the wicket afford purchase nor did the bowlers themselves attempt anything out of the ordinary. Stereotyped bowling guaranteed a stereotyped result.

Sure, a flat wicket is frustrating, but if the bowlers will depend only on that, then something is terribly wrong.

Anyhow, little is to be gained by slamming the bowlers. The present picture, after all, would have been dramatically different had the batsmen not made a hash of that great start on the opening day � 97 for no loss, till just after lunch. They do have an opportunity to make amends, only it is to be seen who has learnt from repeated mistakes.

Shiv Sundar Das and Ramesh, though, have made a sensible beginning. And, as in the first innings, Shiv Sundar has been playing shots. He was, however, lucky on eight when Tillekeratne only got his fingers to one off Dilhara Fernando.

Muttiah Muralidharan will be the biggest threat, but he can be countered by a sensible hour-to-hour and session-by-session strategy. The Indians have to choose between reducing the pressure or allowing it to assume skyscraper proportions.


Colombo, Aug. 31: 
It was around this time last year that the knives were finally out for then India coach, Kapil Dev. Eventually, Kapil put in his papers after just 12 months even though his appointment was for two years. He also vowed never to have anything to do with cricket.

Twelve months on, Kapil�s full-time successor John Wright is set to have his contract extended till the 2003 World Cup. Initially appointed for one year, the extension should come through at the Board�s AGM late next month, in Chennai.

Indicating this, well-placed sources of The Telegraph said: �The results may not always have been to expectations, but Wright has definitely made a difference. It makes sense, then, to retain him till the (February-March 2003) World Cup.�

In any case, the original idea behind breaking with tradition and getting a coach from overseas � in this instance, a former New Zealand captain working with Kent � was for him to prepare India for cricket�s most glittering showpiece, the 2003 World Cup, being (largely) hosted by South Africa.

Incidentally Wright, who assumed charge from the home series against Zimbabwe last November, was being wooed by New Zealand Cricket to succeed David Trist. He politely declined.

Wright himself is focussed on the job at hand, the ongoing Test at the SSC, but during a recent exclusive chat, he did say: �If there�s one thing I�ve learnt over the years, it�s that equations change pretty fast in sport. So, you�ve got to take it week-by-week and, at times, even look at the job on a day-to-day basis...�

He doesn�t take anything for granted, in itself a nice quality to have.

Moreover, from the conduct of the conditioning camps � never before have they been so intense � to the training drills to plotting strategy, Wright has injected professionalism which wasn�t quite evident when his predecessors called the shots. Plus, he is a hands-on man most comfortable staying away from the limelight.

Refreshingly, Wright has also been harping on values. As he explained, during that recent one-on-one, �if you aren�t honest about your work and with others, then it�s not worthwhile operating in any walk of life.�

In effect, Wright has introduced a work culture with a difference. About the only criticism from some quarters is that he is �too democratic� in exploring options. Also that, perhaps, he is often �too reliant on the seniors, specially captain Sourav Ganguly.�

But, then, no two coaches can be the same. And, it�s worth nothing that when it comes to sweating it out, Wright doesn�t actually differentiate on grounds of seniority: The workload is the same for a Rahul Dravid as it is for a Mohammed Kaif.

Generally, Wright is himself first on the field during workouts and, always, the last to leave. With his kit bag, the tennis rackets... Clearly, �committed� could well be his middlename. Appreciating this, the Board is set to extend his contract.


Colombo, Aug. 31: 
Tilan Samaraweera, who today became the third Sri Lankan to score a hundred on Test debut, feels his achievement is a �just reward� for all the hard work, especially in the past 18 months.

Talking to The Telegraph, the on-cloud nine Samaraweera stated: �Though I did play some ODIs, in the not-too-distant past, it�s Test cricket that I was really looking forward to. I put in a lot of work and the regular exposure at the A level definitely helped as well.�

Samaraweera, the Lanka A captain, added: �In particular, my confidence grew when I did well both with bat and ball in the last two A series� at home � versus Zimbabwe and Pakistan... Then, in any case, I was putting in more hours at nets (batting and off-spin).�

An admirer of Sachin Tendulkar and Saqlain Mushtaq, besides Muttiah Muralidharan and Sanath Jayasuriya, Samaraweera said he wasn�t disappointed at not getting capped in either Galle or Kandy. �That the wickets were green is what influenced the final XI... I knew my turn would come and, as it turned out, made my debut on home ground (the SSC).�

Later, talking to Mediapersons, Samaraweera remarked he hadn�t been given a timeframe, either by captain Jayasuriya or coach Dav Whatmore, to complete his historic century.

�At the tea break, when I was on exactly 50, I was only told to be positive... It helped that such an experienced player (Hashan Tillekaratne) was at the other end... Really, he kept encouraging me,� Samaraweera pointed out.

In Samaraweera�s opinion, though the wicket is still in favour of the batsmen, India have a tough ask (trying to save the Test) because of one bowler: Muralidharan. �He�s the greatest,� Samaraweera signed off.


Calcutta, Aug. 31: 
Bhaichung Bhutia is willing to take part in the Afro-Asian Games but unlikely to attend the conditioning camp to be held in Patiala. However, he is yet to approach Bury FC officials regarding his release for the November 3-11 show.

�I�ll have to speak to the club chairman and coach to be released for the tournament but joining the camp seems unlikely,� Bhutia told The Telegraph over telephone yesterday. His name features in the list of probables released yesterday.

According to the Bury FC website, the club has league matches on October 27, November 3 and 10. So, if the Indian skipper does make the trip for the Afro-Asian Games, he won�t miss more than two games.

Bhutia said such camps are not necessary for all and even the England players for tomorrow�s World Cup qualifier against Germany have not had anything such. He informed it�s not a popular practice in England anymore.

�The coaches know who�s doing what and it�s difficult for the clubs to release players so often. It�s the professional way of doing things and the same is required in India. For a team like us, which played frequently in the recent past, long camps are not necessary.�

The striker said he didn�t want more than two-three changes to the squad which toured England recently. �In fact, I�m in favour of retaining the squad but those doing well of late should get a chance.�

Bhutia, who had suffered a knee injury in a league match, which ruled him out of two games, is recovering well and played for 90 minutes in Monday�s 0-3 defeat against Swindon Town. Bury have got off to a poor start in the second division league with a solitary win and three defeats in four matches.

Problems for Big Two

The clamour is yet to gain momentum but the city giants once again find themselves in trouble following the release of list of probables for Afro-Asian Games and SAF Games.

Eight from East Bengal and nine from Mohun Bagan have been named in the lists. If the camps start towards the end of September, the Big Two will find it difficult to release all, as the IFA Shield will be in progress.


Calcutta, Aug. 31: 
The city referees called off the three-day strike, as was expected, but expressions of discontent continued to trouble city football.

After Tuesday�s linesman-bashing aided the George Telegraph coach Raghu Nandy, an official and players, today it was the turn of semi-officials of a nursery division team to raid the IFA office and hurl expletives on an official inside the joint-secretaries� room.

About the George Telegraph fracas, the Calcutta Referees� Association (CRA) today softened its stance and decided to resume officiating from tomorrow. CRA secretary Kamal Sarkar said the IFA�s actions against those accused will be monitored and the referees will meet again after the state body announces its decision.

The IFA�s league sub-committee will meet tomorrow to investigate the incident and its disciplinary committee will start its own proceedings from Monday. None, however, promise a real, bold decision.

Chaos in IFA office

In the other incident, about 15, all claiming to be Bagha Shome Football Institute officials, barged into the joint-secretaries� room and started abusing a member of the nursery league sub-committee.

That member, the �protestors� said, was from Milan Samity and �instigated� Central Calcutta to lodge a protest against three of their players after the semi-final on August 25. Bagha Shome won the match 2-0 but three of their players were alleged to be overage.

The sub-committee met today and Bagha Shome representatives said they were protesting the presence of that particular member. That member, by the way, has the right to be present at such meetings.

The decision was deferred and is likely on Wednesday. Action against those giving vent to their ire inside the IFA office, however, is not on immediate agenda. Even then, an official said it would be �discussed� at the next meeting.


New Delhi, Aug. 31: 
Indian sports will probably never be able to rid itself of political interference. The government has okayed the participation of an Indian contingent at the Islamabad SAF Games from October 6 to 16, and IOA president Suresh Kalmadi today announced that one R.K. Anand will be Chef-de-Mission.

Anand is a nobody in Indian sports. Till yesterday he was just a lawyer, and a Rajya Sabha member from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). Today the executive committee of the IOA thought it fit to push Anand up the sports ladder.

The Chef-de-Mission post has always been used by the IOA to pay back debts, some hardly connected to the sporting world.

MoU with CMC

Meanwhile, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the government-owned information technology solutions company CMC to provide information and statistics during the Afro-Asian Games. An agreement was also reached with the Indian Tourism and Development Corporation so that all participants can stay in the four hotels owned by them in Delhi.

Kalmadi, as the working chairman of the Afro-Asian Games Organising Committee, said he had been officially informed that the ATP World Doubles Tennis Championship had been postponed to avoid overlapping of dates with the AAG. This will enable Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi to take part in the Afro-Asian Games. The new dates for the World Doubles Championship in Bangalore, he said, are from November 14 to 18.

Kalmadi regretted that the hockey competition at the Games will be depleted. The dates for the Champions Trophy, which clash with that of the Games, have not been changed. Thus Pakistan and South Korea have now officially withdrawn from the hockey competition of the Games.

The new dates, from November 19 to December 1, for the jinxed National Games in the Punjab, were ratified at today�s meeting. Kalmadi announced a cash award of Rs 5 lakh for Pullela Gopichand for winning the All-England title. A similar award was sanctioned for Karnam Malleswari for winning the Olympic bronze.


Calcutta, Aug. 31: 
Two state records were created on the opening day of the state aquatic championship in Krishnanagar today. According to information received here, Sudip Basak and Gouranga Mondal set the new marks, in men�s 400m freestyle and 200m breaststroke, respectively. Sudip clocked 04:34.13 to erase Pankaj Das� mark of 04:34.51 and Gouranga bettered Amit Mondal�s record of 02:38.66 with an effort of 02:36.80.

RESULTS � MEN: 400 freestyle: 1. Sudip Basak (Hooghly, 04:34.13). 2. Souvik Das (Hwh, 04:50.54). 3. Avirup Dutta Majumdar (Cal, 04:54.15). 200 breaststroke: Gouranga Mondal (S 24 Pgs, 02:36.80). 2. Gairik Bardhan (Hwh, 02:46.40). 3. Dipankar Haldar (N 24 Pgs, 02:49.28). 200 backstroke: Koushik Banerjee (Hwh, 02:27.87). 2. Subrata Bhattacharya (Cal, 02:32.47). 3. Santanu Pramanik (Mid, 02:33.98). 200 butterfly: Ashim Mondal (S 24 Pgs, 02:21.38). 2. Souvik Das (Hwh, 02:23.97). 3. Sunil Mondal (Cal, 02:27.39). 400 IM: 1. Biplab Dey (S 24 Pgs, 05:18.08). 2. Sandip Das (Cal, 05:27.96). 3. Trishanu Dey Kirty (Hwh, 05:51.07).

WOMEN: 400 freestyle: 1. Santana Patra (S 24 Pgs, 05:1.87). 2. Sampa Das (Hwh, 05:25.86). 3. Soumishila Dey (Cal, 05:32.45).200 breaststroke: Chaitali Ghosh (Hooghly, 03:07.69). 2. Sayani Pal (Hwh, 03:09.81). 3. Esha Chakraborty (Hwh, 03:13.19). 200 backstroke: 1. Amrapali Dasgupta (Cal, 02:42.19). 2. Mita Mallik (Cal, 02:48.50). 3. Gouri Pal (S 24 pgs, 03:15.20). 200 butterfly: 1. Santana Patra (S 24 Pgs, 02:40.35). 2. Jhuma Naskar (S 24 Pgs, 02:52.73). 3. Kumari Katwal (Hwh, 03:02.98). 400 IM: 1. Tanushree Dey Das (hwh, 06:13.05). 2. Manika Mondal (S 24 Pgs, 06:14.72). 3. Priya Mukherjee (Cal, 06:42. 56).


Pune, Aug. 31: 
An easy winner of the Maharaja�s Cup during the Bangalore summer, Endorsement is fancied to win the 2,000m Eve Champion Trophy in Pune on Saturday. C. Ruzaan partners the Michael Eshwer-trainee.


1.45 pm: Zidane 1. Magic Arrow 2. Demedicie 3.
2.15 pm: Anxious Moments 1. Don Alejandro 2. Celtic Son 3.
2.45 pm: Catch Me If You Can 1. Bearer Bond 2. War �N� Peace 3.
3.15 pm: Southern Star 1. Soviet Ace 2. National Velvet 3.
3.45 pm: Helianthus 1. Aspiring Star 2. Right Moment 3.
4.15 pm: Smokey Joe 1. Flying High 2. Moonlight Kisses 3.
4.45 pm: Endorsement 1. Al Dente 2. Anagram 3.
5.15 pm: Mystic Lady 1. Habit 2. Fly Me To The Moon 3.
5.45 pm:Amber Wine 1. Pretty Bee 2. Whirling Dervish 3.

Day�s Best: Helianthus

Double: Anxious Moments & Southern Star

Pune, Aug. 31: 
Ridden by Malesh Narredu Count Dracula lifted the Gold Street Trophy in Pune on Friday. M. P. Jodha-trained the four-year-old colt by Classic Sport out of Lady In Action.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. D. N. Zodge Plate 1,400m: (6-1-8) Sun Charmer (S. Rathore) 1; Beau Wonder 2; History 3. Won by: 3/4; 1-3/4; (1-27.3). Tote: Win Rs 92; Place: 16; 13; 81; Quinella: 111; Tanala: 10,559. Fav: Louis Cyphre (3). (Note: The winner survived objection lodged by the rider of second placed horse).

2. Rectify Plate 1,400m; (5-1-8) Smart Warrior (Ruzaan) 1; Dahana 2; Turning Leaf 3. Won by: 3/4; Nk; (1-28.1). Tote: Win Rs 45; Place: 18; 23; 59; Quinella: 124; Tanala: 1,875. Fav: Innocence (3).

3. Rainband Plate 1,600m: (3-5-9) Alustar (Prakash) 1; Royal Engagement 2; Prabhuti 3. Won by: 3-3/4; 1; (1-30.9). Tote: Win Rs 47; Place: 21; 13; 14; Quinella: 44; Tanala: 353. Fav:Royal Engagement (5).

4 Royal Jester Plate 1,800m: (7-4-9) Stilleto Xpress (Mansoor) 1; Park Lane 2; Thrilling Lights 3. Won by: 3-1/4; 1-1/4; (1-54.9). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 13; 62; 28; Quinella: 273; Tanala: 1,791. Fav: Stilleto Xpress (7).

5. Gold Street Trophy 2,400m: (3-2-4) Count Dracula (M. Narredu) 1; Saytarra 2; The Silken Thomas 3. Won by: 3/4; Hd; (2-36.4). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 14; 24; Quinella: 51; Tanala: 364. Fav: Count Dracula (3).

6. Lord Jim Plate 1,000m: (8-7-13) Anacita (Rajendra) 1; Wordsworth 2; Spirited Move 3. Not run: Space Blaze (4). Won by: 1; Nk; (1-1.2). Tote: Win Rs 30; Place: 14; 19; 12; Quinella: 73; Tanala: 309. Fav: Spirited Move (13).

7. Nymphette Plate 1,400m: (2-5-6) Lightning Arrow (Prakash) 1; Act of Trust 2; Double Up 3. Won by: 1-3/4; Nk; (1-27.7). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 16; 64; 169; Quinella: 144; Tanala: 26,483. Fav: Lightning Arrow (2).

Jackpot: Rs 2,731; (C) Rs 430.

Treble: (i) Rs 401; (ii) Rs 266.

Calcutta, Aug. 31: 
Allosaki, Queen�s Logic and Allaying impressive from among the following horses were seen exercising yesterday morning:

Out sand track

1,600m: Arendal (Amil) in 2-4s; (400m) 31s. Easy.

1,400m: Grand Lodge (Upadhya) and Double Dancer (Rb) in1-50s; (400m) 31s. They were level and were easy.

Monsoon track

1,600m: Allosaki (Amil) in1-53s; (400m) 31s. Good. Anolini (C. Alford) in 1-56s; (400m) 30s. Moved attractively.

1,400m: Anokato (Connorton) in 1-49s; (400m) 25s. Impressed.

1,200m: Allaying (C. Alford) and Queen�s Logic (Rabani) in 1-24s; (400m) 26s. They finished level. Note both. Scavanger�s Son (Yasin) and Maltayar (Connorton) in 1-33s; (400m) 25s. Both were level and were handy. Aldridge (C. Alford) and Automatic (Surender) in 1-26s; (400m) 28s. They were level and were easy. Ace of Spades (Yasin) in 1-28s; (400m) 25s. Moved well. Countach (V. Jaiswal) in 1-34s; (400m) 25s. Good. Bountiful Gesture (C. Alford) in 1-24s; (400m) 27s. Fit. Actress (C. Alford) and Altiama (Rb) in 1-27s; (400m) 29s. They finshed together and were easy.

1,000m: Merano (C. Alford) in 1-6s; (400m) 27s. Moved attractively.

800m: Consul�s Secret (V. Jaiswal) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Easy. Grecian Prince (R. Ahmed) in 55s; (400m) 26s. Santillana (Connorton) and Bird�s Empire (B. Gurang) in 57s; (400m) 27s. They were worked level and were easy. Calculus (Rutherford) in 54s; (400m) 25s. Moved nicely. Glass Slipper (Rutherford) in 52s; (400m) 25s. Fit.

600m: Lovely Prospect (Rutherford) in 43s. (400m) 24s. Easy.

Sand track

1,400m: Aliqa (Rb) in 1-55s; (400m) 34s. Easy.

800m: Ballet Master (Connorton) in 59s; (400m) 27s. Almond Rock (Connorton) in 58s; (400m) 28s.

On Wednesday,

Outer sand track

1,600m: Allosaki (Amil) in 2-8s; (400m) 33s. Easy.

1,200m: Cool Quest (Bird) in 1-31s; (400m) in 29s. Easy. Silver Toy (Bird) in 1-29s; (400m) 31s.

800m: Remember Me (Rb) in 1-2s; (400m) 31s.

Mock Race

after the last race
Monsoon track

1,000m: Addab (Upadhya), Rare Gold (Amil) and Cavala (Asghar) in 1-6s; (400m) 25s. They finished in the order named and each horse was separated by a distance.    


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