England hopeful of Ashley Giles� return
India unlikely to field third spinner
Even contest on the cards
EB juggernaut crushes Ballygunge United
Bengal manage five points
U-18 title for Sabyasachi
Calcutta Races/ Antequera scrapes through

Ahmedabad, Dec. 9: 
The whole of India may be thinking of a 3-0 whitewash in the current Test series but England captain Nasser Hussain is keeping his fingers crossed.

�I strongly believe that if we can put pressure on India by getting some runs on the board and anything can happen. The key to our winning here will be how the batsmen fare,� Hussain said after nets at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, in nearby Motera.

�The batsmen have to start believing they can get runs. Craig White did well against the spinners in Pakistan. Mark Ramprakash has a hundred against Shane Warne,� Hussain added.

The positive thinking of the England captain stems from the fact that Ashley Giles is likely to play the second Test, beginning Tuesday. The left-arm spinner has missed almost five months of action following his Achilles tendon operation.

�He�s done everything today. I asked him about his condition and he said, �I�m feeling good�. We�ll have to wait and see if he is okay on the morning of the Test,� Hussain said of Giles.

This means if Giles if fit, the Englishmen will go into the Test with two spinners. Off spinner Richard Dawson made an impressive debut in Chandigarh. It is likely that James Ormond will then have to make way for Giles.

�Giles automatically comes into the side. We want him to be back to strengthen the attack and have the desired balance in the side,� Hussain added.

He, however, stressed on the batsmen getting runs.

�Our batsmen need to apply themselves. The contribution has to be from No. 1 to No. 11. The onus will be on our lads to utilise their experience from the last Test.�

The England captain felt the batsmen needed �a different mindset� to get runs in these conditions. �We have played cricket in quicker wickets. Comparatively, it�s pretty slow here.

�It�s all about mental discipline, shot selection and the ability to hang in there. It�s basically a combination of surviving and knowing how to hit the spinners. Matthew Hayden did just that for the Australians earlier this year,� he pointed out.

�It�s up to each individual on how to tackle the spinners. It�s important to have a gameplan. We�ve to learn and learn quickly how to play certain shots.�

Hussain said he found the combination of Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble �very different� from the other spinners. He felt playing more practice matches against state sides wouldn�t have helped much in the build-up to the Tests.

�It�s hard to find such quality spinners in state games. The reason why India are successful is that they have the right set of bowlers for these conditions. We don�t have mystery bowlers of the calibre of Harbhajan and Kumble in our side � spinners who can turn the ball both ways in the same action. We�re learning on our feet on how to tackle these deliveries. We�ve got to keep improving with each game,� Hussain remarked.

Hussain also had a word about their fielding which had also let them down in Mohali. �It was disappointing. Duncan (Fletcher) had a word with the boys today. He�s worked hard with them and we�ll have to try and put things in the right perspective.�

The English are not leaving anything to chance.


Ahmedabad, Dec. 9: 
The result in Mohali may suggest it�s going to be a cakewalk for the hosts in tailor-made conditions in the current series, but the Indians are not taking things lightly.

This is a series they need to win to keep their pride intact after the drubbing in South Africa. The players are determined to set things right and rediscover form.

If the guiles of Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble did the trick in the first Test, the wicket at Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, in nearby Motera, is likely to add to the visitors� woes. It may not be a �dust bowl� as the Englishmen might have expected, but the varying bounce and pace is bound to pose problems for them.

According to The Telegraph�s sources, the Indians are likely to make two changes to the side that played in Mohali. The availability of Jawagal Srinath and Virender Sehwag will give the team the right balance suited for these conditions.

Srinath will come in for the injured Sanjay Bangar, while Sehwag is likely to replace Iqbal Siddiqui. The presence of Sehwag will also strengthen the spin department.

�There will be a bit of reverse swing. Srinath is back and he is a quality bowler. The wicket is going to be slow and low than turn big. Cricket will be turgid,� was Hussain�s reading.

Sourav Ganguly � who it was learnt has named his daughter Sana, meaning praise � passed it off as just a �good wicket� after a cursory glance with coach John Wright and Sachin Tendulkar.

Curator Nadim Memon had much explaining to do to the waiting mediamen. �A team which bats first and puts up a decent total will have the advantage. It will turn towards the later stage,� the curator said.

Memon even suggested that playing three spinners could be an advantage. But the Indians are unlikely to add a third specialist spinner in the form of Sarandeep Singh to the playing XI.

The Indians were present in full strength, except for Rahul Dravid who is expected to arrive later in the evening because of a wedding in the family, at their afternoon nets today.


Calcutta, Dec. 9: 
The 43rd Winter Bridge Nationals was inaugurated at Netaji Indoor Stadium today, by Viren Shah, the Governor of West Bengal.

The main team event for the Ruia Gold Cup begins tomorrow. The meet has returned to the city after 14 years and the same venue had attracted a record 284 teams last time.

Defending champions Well-Knit of Chennai are in full strength and they should be upbeat after winning the Tolani Masters in Mumbai last month. Indian Railways, who lost the Mumbai final by one IMP, will feel at home with quite a few city-based players in their ranks.

Formidables, comprising Kiran Nadar, Subhas Gupta, Satya Narayanana, Venkatraman, B. Prabhakar, R. Dalal, is another heavyweight team.

The team members recently returned from Paris where they took India to the quarter finals of the inter-zonal world championships for the Bermuda Bowl.

Ashok Ruia�s outfit is also a strong contender and so is Dharampur Sugar. Other teams to watch are Monotona Mumbai and M. Ravas.

The governor, by the way, turned out to be a keen bridge player and even edged out his opponents in a eight-board match which had among players Robi Roy, Russi Mody, Aditya Kashyap, Madhav Lal Capoor, Micky Chinoy, M.N. Dastur and Mahendra Swarup.


Calcutta, Dec. 9: 
East Bengal today completed formalities in their CAB senior division league match, beating a hapless Ballygunge United by a massive 357 runs at the Greer ground.

Starting off from their overnight 482, East Bengal�s Abdul Munayem picked up five for 31 as Ballygunge United collapsed for 125.

Playing at home Kalighat, built on yesterday�s fine performance (286 off 85 overs), stubbing out Aryan�s challenge for just 193 in 55 overs.

The only show of defiance was from veteran Arup Bhattacharya who scored 60.

The main wrecker for Kalighat today was Murtaza Lodhgar who picked up eight for 64 to give them the 93-run win. Lodhgar had scored 63 yesterday.

Other winners today were Calcutta Customs (an 82-run win over Mohanlal Club), Tollygunge Agragami (6-wicket win over Eastern Railway, Kaustuv Ganguly remaining unbeaten on 119), High Court (a 131-run win over Sporting Union), Netaji Subhas Institute (a 7-wicket win over Dakshin Kalikata Sansad) and BNR (also a 7-wicket win over George Telegraph, riding Prasanta Sinha Roy�s 174 and Mithun Dutta�s 104).


At Kalighat: Kalighat 286. Aryan 193 off 55 overs (Arup Bhattacharya 60, Samrat Bhowmick 34; Murtaza Lodhgar 8/64). Kalighat won by 93 runs.

At East Calcutta SC: Calcutta Customs 219 in 68.3 ovs (Prasenjit Ganguly 52, Anustup Majumdar 35; Taposh Pal 5/56, Saptarshi Ghosh 4/49). Mohanlal Club 137 in 76.5 ovs (Mainak Dutta 36 n.o.; Anup Das 6/27, Rudra Mukherjee 3/40). Customs won by 82 runs.

At Town Club: Belgachia United 322 in 85 ovs (Arpan Hazra 65, Sudip Palit 69; Abrab Ali Khan 3/73, Suvankar Roy Chowdhury 3/72). Town Club 198/8 in 85 ovs (Suman Chatterjee 110; Abhirup Mukherjee 3/49, Sandeep Banerjee 4/74). Match drawn.

At Taltala: Aikya Sammelani 320. Taltala Institute 280/7 (Amit Biswas 106 n.o.; Abhisek Roy 3/65). Match drawn.

At Rajasthan: Eastern Railway SA 252. Tollygunge Agragami 255/4 in 70.3 ovs (Kaustuv Ganguly 119 n.o., Abakash Khatua 87 n.o.). Tollygunge won by 6 wkts.

At High Court: High Court 429/8 (Ritesh Jaiswal 111, Basanta Khanna 102 , Nain Khan 90, Abbas 61). Sporting Union 298 (Satrajit Lahiri 72; Farasat Ullah 4/41, Suprotip Chatterjee 4/111). High Court won by 131 runs.

At Oxford Mission: Barisha Sporting 386/7 (Subhojit Banerjee 112, Abhisek Chowdhury 164, Santanu Mitra 57 n.o.; Prosenjit Shetty 3/90). Manoharpukur Milan Samity 322/7 (Bikramjit Bhowmick 112, Siddhartha Lahiri 83, Sanjay Das 37). Match drawn.

At Tala Park: Wari AC 316/9 (Prabir Mukherjee 83, Pradip Majumdar 62 n.o.; Irfan Bari Khan 4/105). Paikpara Sporting 219/9 (Siddhartha Mukherjee 60; Anjum Parvez 55, Siram Jhadhav 44; Kaushik Bhattacharya 4/34, Prabir Mukherjee 2/48). Match drawn.

At Deshapriya Park (DKS): Dakshin Kalikata Sansad 238. Netaji Subbhas Institute 240/3 (Biswanath Bose 130 n.o.). Netaji Subhas Institute won by 7 wkts.

At Bhowanipore: George Telegraph 317. BNR Rec. Club 321/3 in 68.4 ovs (Prasanta Sinha Roy 174, Mithun Dutta 104). BNR won by 7 wkts.

At Greer: East Bengal 482/8. Ballygunge United 125 (Abdul Monaim 5/31). East Bengal won by 125 runs.

Junior cricket

Khadim Ashok Malhotra Cricket Academy today beat Benrec by eight wickets to lift the Priyak Memorial sub-junior title.

Benrec scored 228 for seven in their 35 overs, Priyajit Biswas hitting 45. Malhotra CA notched up 233 for two, Srivats Goswami and Mohan Kayal scoring 84 and 70, respectively.

Mohan Kayal was declared Man of the Series, Srivats the Man of the Final, Benrec�s S. Biswas the Best Batsman and Peara Bagan�s Prasun Sadhukhan the Best Bowler.

Brief scores: Benrec 228/7 (P Biswas 45, S Biswas 38). Malhotra CA 233/2 in 30.3 ovs (S Goswami 84, M Kayal 70).


Calcutta, Dec. 9: 
Bengal finally managed five points from their drawn Vijay Merchant Trophy (Under-16) match versus Assam at the Eden today. That was the 18th point earned by the hosts in three matches. Assam earned three points.

In contrast to the fine show by their batsmen yesterday, the only Bengal bowler to make any decent headway today was left-arm spinner Kirti Sarkar who picked up five wickets for 88 runs. Manoj Tiwari took three for 74, but a dogged innings from Swarupan Purakayastha (89), Rachat Bhowmick (60) and Kuldip Vaishya Tyagu (52) helped Assam ride to 318 off 110.2 overs, recovering from their overnight 27 for two. Also contributing were Pervez Aziz (40) and Sourav Dutta (45).

Bengal now play away versus Tripura from December 14, before returning home to play Orissa from December 21.

Brief scores: Assam 228 & 318 (S Purakayastha 89, R Bhowmick 60, K V Tyagu 52, P Aziz 40, S Dutta 45; K Sarkar 5/88, M Tiwari 3/74). Bengal 389/5 dec.


Calcutta, Dec. 9: 
Sabyasachi Bose today won the boys� singles (under-18) Saturday Club floodlit tennis title today with a 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (9-7) win over Samrat Ghosh in the final.

The girls� under-18 title went to Shivika Burman who beat Sharmistha Chaudhuri 6-0, 6-2.

The boys� under-14 title went to Farid Alam who beat Karan Dhillon 6-2, 6-2.

University soccer

Calcutta University today won the East Zone inter-university soccer championship, drawing goalless their last league match versus Burdwan.

Rabindra Bharati (who beat BR Ambedkar 4-1 today) were runners-up, followed by Burdwan and BR Ambedkar.

The top three teams each ended on five points, but their goal differentials lined up the rankings.


Calcutta, Dec. 9: 
Asserting his better class, the Green Forest-Silver Reflet son Antequera defied his poor looks to score a narrow victory over The Archer in the Calcutta 2,000 Guineas today. Aslam Kader partnered the winner.

With a shade over two lengths lead in the last furlong of the race, the 55-100 favourite appeared to be handsomely placed for a fluent win until The Archer, a big-made colt, walked on to the scene after taking the home-turn seven-wide.The winner was trained by Darius Byramji and not Vijay Singh as was mentioned in these columns yesterday. Since Antequera travelled to the city from Bangalore last month with some of Vijay-trained horses and remained with him till recently before Darius took charge, there was a mix-up.


1. Red Chieftan Handicap 1,100m: (7-2-5-1)Calabash (C. Alford) 1; Common Spirit (Abraham) 2; Freedom Warrior (Rajesh) 3; Discomatic (Locke) 4. Won by: Nk; 3-1/4; 2-1/2; (1-7.2). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 10; 13; 13; Quinella: 19; Tanala: 46. Fav: Calabash (7). Winner trained by Mujeeb R.

2. Time Machine Cup 1,600m: (2-3-10-6) Acceptor (C. Alford) 1; Estocade (Rutherford) 2; Aflicker (Rabani) 3; No Regrets (Shanker) 4. Won by: 2-1/2; Nk; 1-1/2; (1-38.2). Tote: Win Rs 31; Place: 15; 16; 30; Quinella: 101; Tanala: 1,251. Fav: Amber Dancer (1). Winner trained by D. Byramji.

3. Flaming Orb Handicap 1,400m: (9-4-7-6) Calculate (Shanker) 1; Peace Envoy (Abraham) 2; As A Rule (Gowli) 3; Accrete (C. Alford) 4. Won by: 1-1/4; SH; Nk; (1-28.3). Tote: Win Rs 51; Place: 17; 26; 33; Quinella: 207; Tanala: 3,688. Fav: Accrete (6). Winner trained by Vijay S.

4. Nanoli Stud Juvenile Stakes 1,100m: (3-2-6-1) Callisto (C. Alford) 1; Anatolia (Kader) 2; Star Selection (Connorton) 3; Royal City (Abraham) 4. Won by: 1-1/4; 1-3/4; 4-3/4; (1-7.8). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 14; 17; Quinella: 20; Tanala: 35. Fav: Callisto (3). Winner trained by Vijay S.

5. Sunbird Cup 1,600m:(8-3-11-12) Set Aside (Norton) 1; Si Senora (Lemaire) 2; Rescue Act (Rabani) 3; Arbello (Rajesh) 4. Won by: 3/4; 2-3/4; 1/2; (1-39). Tote: Win Rs 238; Place: 40; 26; 28; Quinella: 839; Tanala: 10,833. Fav: Attune (7). Winner trained by Asfand.

6. Calcutta 2000 Guineas 1,600m: (2-6-3-4) Antequera (Kader) 1; The Archer (Lemaire) 2; Arterial (Norton) 3; Mack The Knife (Rutherford) 4. Not run: Angeles (7). Won by: 1/2; 1-3/4; 3/4; (1-38.6). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 10; 12; 31; Quinella: 18; Tanala: 115. Fav: Antequera (2). Winner trained by D. Byramji.

7. Viscol Handicap 1,400m; (13-9-2-6) Rich Dominion (Abraham) 1; Archery (C. Alford) 2; Lucifer (Upadhya) 3; Tsaynen Blue (E. Smith) 4. Won by: 5; 2-1/4; 3/4; (1-28.7). Tote: Win Rs 58; Place: 18; 14; 30; Quinella: 37; Tanala: 1,992. Fav: Archery (9). Winner trained by Daniel D.

Jackpot: Rs 8,846; (C) Rs 680.

Treble: (i) Rs 215; (ii) Rs 1,509.

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