Tight-fisted England slow down Indian chase
Achievement all Kumble�s own, says Chandra
Soujan spins Bengal to victory
NSI beat Mohanlal
Rohan, Varun steal show
Ashok Kumar wins strokeplay
Bangalore Racing/ Crystal Moment has the edge
Calcutta Racing/ 8 events in Saturday Oaks card
Calcutta Racing/ Blue Gardenia impresses

Bangalore, Dec.20: 
England 336
India 99/3

Of Sachin Tendulkar�s 27 Test centuries, only one (177 versus Australia) has been authored at the Chinnaswamy. For India to even come close to wringing England�s neck, though, an equally big century will have to be posted.

The maestro had already reached a classy unbeaten 50 by stumps on Day-II of the third and final Hero Honda series Test. But, the Indians are three-down and their task therefore is more than cut out.

Moreover, should the sky again be overcast � floodlights were used from immediately after lunch till the premature close � the Andrew Flintoffs will be encouraged to bend their back even more.

Incidentally, to try and make good the 11 overs short today, tomorrow�s re-scheduled start is at 9.38 am. The calculation doesn�t make sense but, then, that is the official commencement.

Ahead 1-0 India surely can�t lose the series, yes, but even allowing England to draw level will be just as bad.

Realising this, perhaps, Anil Kumble specified an �immediate� goal � that of helping India make it 2-0 � when somebody asked the day�s cynosure about long-term goals. In the afternoon, of course, Kumble claimed his 300th Test wicket. His 100th (Martin Crowe), too, had come on home turf�back in the 1995-96 season.

Having allowed England to get well past 300, it was imperative that the Indians got off to a muscular start. In the event, Deep Dasgupta and V.V.S.Laxman (not for the first time promoted to No. 3) fell to great deliveries from Flintoff and, then, Shiv Sundar Das inside-edged the same quick to leave England with hopes of squaring the series.

Deep couldn�t get the bat out of the damage-causing way, while Laxman, after yet another promising start (a flicked four off the first ball), was left flabbergasted by the most incredible of inswingers.

Flintoff, then, was rewarded for aggressive bowling. He wasn�t just quick, pushing the Indians on the backfoot, but got the ball to swing both ways.

As for Shiv Sundar, he denied having been unsettled by an �exchange� with England captain Nasser Hussain and Ashley Giles, but did depart in the very first over after the final drinks break � he time when umpires A.V.Jayaprakash and Asoka de Silva spoke to the three as also Sachin.

Though Match Referee Denis Lindsay maintained �nothing untoward� occurred, a senior Indian player insisted Hussain had �abused�. He told The Telegraph: �The England captain just keeps at it...� Well, apparently, the Indians do �retaliate�. While nobody will confirm what exactly happened, the message from the umpires was timely: Stay cool.

Shiv Sundar, however, ought to have been out on 11 itself. As it turned out, the Sri Lankan umpire ruled in his favour even though wicketkeeper James Foster�s very agile collection was off pad-bat and not just the pad. Not one bit amused was Giles and it may have been a �provocation�.

Having walked in at 22 for two (tenth over), Sachin knew he had to quickly counter-attack and make the bowlers think. He did, straightaway turning proceedings into a different ball-game. At the same time, it was important for Shiv Sundar to stay put. He couldn�t.

Shiv Sundar�s dismissal brought Rahul Dravid to the middle. However, he only added to the pressure by needing 26 minutes and 20 deliveries to get off the mark. Tomorrow, Dravid must be positive.

Earlier, the England innings ended 21 minutes after lunch with the visitors almost meeting the conventional requirement of any team batting first: Surviving a minimum of four sessions and getting at least 350.

England would have got past 350, but for the early closure after lunch (taken at 325 for seven). In the extended first session�play began 16 minutes early�England lost only Craig White, confused by one pitched short from the tireless and fiery Jawagal Srinath.

White�s 39 came in 116 minutes and off 93 balls (6x4). His seventh-wicket partnership, spread over two days, with Foster was worth 53. Inspired, Giles then joined forces with Foster to add 63 for the eighth-wicket.

Clearly, as in Motera, this was England�s resilience at its best. Only, Foster�s exit (a career-best 48 in 199 minutes, 142 deliveries, 4x4) to yet another beauty from Srinath began that late-order slide. Giles went leg-before to Sarandeep Singh, while a clueless Matthew Hoggard became Kumble�s historic victim.

Had captain Sourav Ganguly not brought back Kumble for what turned out to be the last over, the leg-spinner would still have been one short of the milestone. In fact Sarandeep, with a wicket in his last over, was preparing to again bowl when Sourav obliged the handsome turnout and called Kumble.

�That was the understanding,� a distinctly pleased Kumble revealed, at the Media conference.

Kumble, though, should have got the most-awaited wicket before lunch itself. Unfortunately, in probably trying to make amends for the horrendous verdict against Mark Ramprakash yesterday, Jayaprakash decided in Giles� favour (on eight) when it was clear Shiv Sundar had held off bat-pad.

Given the conditions and his own desire to leave an excellent impression in possibly his last Test on home turf, Srinath returned the best figures: Four for 73. If anything, the veteran�s success reinforced the point Tinu Yohannan ought not to have been dropped.

However, what is past is over � even India�s ten-wicket victory in Mohali. For now, it�s the next three days which matter. The team with more character will garner full points.


Bangalore, Dec.20: 
It�s not unusual for the man of the moment to omit somebody when it comes to thanksgiving. Yet, at the Chinnaswamy today, Anil Kumble made it a point to repeatedly acknowledge the legendary Bhagwat Chandrasekhar�s �support and guidance�.

It wasn�t merely a star leg-spinner of the present generation formally thanking a stalwart of an era which is past. Kumble, it appeared, wanted his appreciation to be put on record for posterity.

�But why has Kumble been thanking me?� asked a surprised Chandra who, by the grace of God, is now much better than he was in even the recent past (after a horrific accident in the late 1980s). Speaking to The Telegraph, he added: �You know, Kumble has achieved everything on his own steam... There�s no need for him to thank anybody.�

Saluting Kumble�s feat of completing 300 Test wickets as �simply fantastic�, Chandra (who himself finished on 242) emotionally recalled his own first meeting: �It was at the Chinnaswamy itself, at a KSCA-conducted camp where I was coach... I reckon Kumble was then 14-15. Frankly, because he was so quick through the air, I immediately realised a match-winner in-the-making had surfaced.�

As modest as Kumble�a trait, clearly, of the Karnataka gharana�Chandra insisted he hasn�t regularly been advising India�s most successful spinner. �Look, it�s only in the initial years I suggested Kumble take a longer run-up. That was essential as he bowled at almost medium-pace...�

Asked to describe Kumble the bowler, Chandra said: �He doesn�t turn much, we all know that, but the ball zips through and accuracy remains his forte. Indeed, he doesn�t offer easy runs and his intensity is always on view. Moreover, he is a thinking bowler, though I must add all bowlers need to think...�

So, just where does Kumble go from here? Chandra�s answer was prompt and affectionate: �It all depends on him... His return from surgery has been successful, but he may still have to be careful. Of course, he has it in him to go a long way. In any case, the truism that spinners mature with time continues to hold true.�

Absolutely spot-on that.


Calcutta, Dec. 20: 
Left-arm spinner Soujan Biswas� five-wicket haul took Bengal to a ten-wicket victory over Tripura in the under-22 BCCI meet at the East Calcutta District Sports Council ground.

Resuming their second innings at 24 for two after conceding a 79-run first innings lead yesterday, Tripura were bundled out for 120. Soujan was the chief wrecker, claiming for five for 52.

Bengal reached the target without the loss of any wicket, Sheikh Sohail scoring a hurricane 26 with five boundaries.

BRIEF SCORES: Tripura 215 & 120 (Sandip Banerjee 59; Soujan Biswas 5/52). Bengal 294 & 44/0. Bengal won by 10 wkts.

Junior cricket

Dipanjan Poddar�s 94 helped Calcutta CCC notch up a 73-run win over Bankura CA in the Ambar Roy sub-junior meet today. The visitors were bundled out for 122 in reply to Calcutta CCC�s 195 for six.


Cricket Academy, Suri 141/5 (Samrat Banerjee 45). Barasat Association 144/2 (Subhajit Banerjee 55 n.o.). Barasat Association won by 8 wkts.

Balak Sangha 124 (Anil Pratap 3/27). Cricket CC, Suri 128/3 (Anirban 34). Cricket CC, Suri won by 7 wkts.

Calcutta CCC 195/6 (Dipanjan Poddar 94). Bankura CA 122 (Debu Malakar 38, Avijit Thakur 33). Calcutta CCC won by 73 runs.

Tapan Memorial 104/7. Bhowanipur 105/1 (Saikat Das 35 n.o., Arpan Chakraborty 33 n.o.). Bhowanipur won by 9 wkts.


Calcutta, Dec. 20: 
Mayanko Chakraborty�s unbeaten 156 helped Netaji Subhas Institute (NSI) beat Mohanlal Club by three wickets in a CAB senior division league tie today.


Ananda Bazar Patrika Sports Club 245. Kalighat 237 (Murtaza Lodhgar 66, Charanjit Singh 49; Altaf Hassan 5/68, Subhash Mohanty 5/80). ABP Sports Club won by 8 runs.

Barisha SC 346/9. Belgachhia Utd 221 (Biplab Singh 111, Harvinder Singh 6/92, Prabir Acharya 3/73). Barisha won by 125 runs.

Calcutta Customs 431/8. High Court Club 207 (Abbas Askari 40, Anup Singh 38, Avid Murtaza 35; Prasenjit Ganguly 3/22, Anup Das 3/56). Customs won by 224 runs.

Young Bengal 265. Tapan Memorial 266/5 (Debopam Sarkar 94, Samir Ghosh 58). Tapan Memorial won by 5 wkts.

Mohammedan Sporting 275. Suburban 277/4 (Ramesh Biswas 95 n.o., Saikat Sett 84). Suburban won by 6 wkts.

Dakshin Kalikata Sansad 306. BNR 310/8 (Prashanta Sinha Roy 101, Sumantra Chatterjee 45; Sachin Vaidya 3/43). BNR won by 2 wkts.

Shibpur 345/9. Aryan 267/4 (Suvan Mitra 109, Gautam Shome 52). Match drawn.

Aikya Sammilani 332. Paikpara Sporting 252/9 (Sahadar Talukdar 63, Anindya Das 59; Chandranath Sanyal 4/39). Match drawn.

CPT 300. YMCA (Coll.) 217 (A. Chatterjee 54, Sagatam Bhattacharjee 4/56). CPT won by 83 runs.

Monoharpukur Milan Samity 330. City AC 184 (Prasenjit Shetty 4/48). Milan Samity won by 146 runs.

Mohanlal 269. Netaji Subhas Institute 270/7 (Mayanko Chakraborty 156 n.o., Ajay Kurmi 5/78). NSI won by 3 wkts.


Calcutta, Dec. 20: 
Young riders from the city once again put up a sterling performance on the third day of the junior national equestrian championship at the Tollygunge Club today. However, the outstation riders too won a good number of their events.

The Tollygunge Club riders monopolised the teenage event, restricted to riders above 12 but below 20 years of age, with Rohan Beri (astride Highland Flame) coming first. He was followed by Abhinav Bose on Supreme Choice while yesterday�s junior national dressage champion, Varun Todi stayed among the winners, finishing third astride Memorable Day.

He, however, displayed superior horsemanship to win the Junior National Hacks event on Supreme Choice, followed by Amir Ali from Lawrence School, Ooty. The armed forces, who have a strong seniors contingent, came among the winners in the junior category for the first time in the championship.

The sub-junior hacks event was won by Hrishika Basappa from the Chennai-based Equestrian Centre for Excellence. Amateur Rider�s Club.


Teenage�Rohan Beri (astride Highland Flame; Tolly) 1; Abhinav Bose (astride Supreme Choice; Tolly) 2; Varun Todi (astride Memorable Day; Tolly) 3. Junior national hacks�Varun Todi (astride Supreme Choice; Tolly) 1; Amir Ali (astride Slash; LC Ooty) 2; Cdt. D. Bareth (astride Baaz; NDA) 3. Sub-junior national hacks�Hrishika Basappa (astride Slash; EI Chennai) 1; Rohan Sandesha (astride Rozenski; ARC Mumbai) 2; Rohan Beri (astride Black Rose; Tolly), Shayam Ansari (Fame & Glory; LC Ooty), Mahima Sinha (Tchaikovsky; LC Ooty)�joint 3. Senior national show jumping (novice)�Ram Govind (astride Turf Queen; RTSD Saharanpur) 1; Dfr. Shaitan Singh (astride Titan; 61 Cavalry) 2; Dfr. Rajpal Singh (astride Natwar; RTSD Saharanpur) 3.


Calcutta, Dec. 20: 
Ashok Kumar won the strokeplay event of the East India amateur golf championship with a score of 144 at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club. Kumar shot one under par 71 on the second day pipping Gagan Verma of Delhi who had a brilliant round of three under to be runner-up at 145.

Eight players from Calcutta were among the 32 who made it to the matchplay event.

Chess for the sightless

A total of 125 participants from 17 states will take part in the all-India chess meet for the visually handicapped. Organised by the Indian Braille Chess Association, the meet will be held from December 26 to 29 at LBM School, Uttarpara.


Bangalore, Dec. 20: 
Crystal Moment and Axe look the best of the six runners to fight out for the 1,400m Garden City Cup tomorrow. However, with Faisal Ismail to ride, the Darius Byramji-ward Crystal Moment appears to have a slight edge.


2.30 pm: Indigenous 1. Luca Brassi 2. Dream Coat 3.

3 pm: Wool U Gooli 1. Dancing Beat 2. Sprite 3.

3.30 pm: Our Ambition 1. Mayfair 2. Rumpelstiltskin 3.

4 pm: Crystal Moment 1. Axe 2. Crystal Sky 3.

4.30 pm: Startrix 1. Guernica 2. Aveste 3.

5 pm: Trillenniium 1. Sensational Lover 2. Icelandic Hope 3.

5.30 pm: Royal Debut 1. Luxor 2. Atomic Fusion 3.

Day�s Best: Our Ambition

Double: Startrix & Trillenniium


Calcutta, Dec. 20: 
There are eight events in Saturday�s race-card that also features the Usha Stud Calcutta Oaks and the Eveready Calcutta Gold Cup. First race at 12 noon.


1. Lombard Handicap 1,600m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 12 Noon: Darth Vader 61; Archery 59; Impressive Prince 59; Tsaynen Blue 58.5; Finders Keepers 57/.5; Fencai 55.5; Sparkling Diamond 53; Rare Orchid 52.5; Calculus 48; Breakfast At Tiffany 47.

2. Irma La Douce Plate 1,100m (Terms, 2-y-o only) 12.35 pm: Actable 55; Altigraph 55; Arian 55; Moon Quest 55; Pehlvan 55; Primaticcio 55; Royal City 55; Sagittarian 55; Gryffindor late Alibaba 53.5; Mahika�s Pet 53.5; Social Girl 53.5.

3. Commanche Cup 1,400m (Cl II, Rt. 66-94) 1.05 pm: Regal Rocket 60; Added Asset 59.5; Ispahan 58; Allaying 56; Ballet Master 56; Sanctified Star 55; Winning Glory 53; Raring To Go 52.

4. Phakos Handicap 1,200m (Cl IV. Rt. 22-50) 1.45 pm: Peace Envoy 61; Mr. Bombshell 60; Calabash 57.5; As A Rule 55.5; Constantine 53.5; Storm Centre 53.5; Brave Show 51; Crest Star 50.5; Software 50.5; The Stud 50.5.

5. Bengal Area Cup, Div-I 1,200m (Cl III, Rt. 44-72) 2.20 pm: Soviet Port 60; Sovereign Bullet 59; Immaculate 58.5; Lovely Prospect 57; Tajik 55.5; Kargil Soldier 55; Best In Show 54.5; Raaz 54.5; Schumacher 54; Rare Gold 53.5; Pearl Dragon 52; Simply Monarch 51.

6. Usha Stud Calcutta Oaks 2,400m (Terms, fillies 3-y-o only) 2.50 pm: Amber Dancer 54.5; Arristo 54.5; Blue Gardenia 54.5; Calorescence 54.5; Si Senora 54.5; Touch of Silver 54.5.

7. Eveready Calcutta Gold Cup 1,600m (Terms, 3-y-o & over) 3.25 pm: Alternator 64; Fame Star 62; Colonial 57.5; Access All Areas 57; Allodium 52.5; Anagram 52.5; Annatto 52.5; Bold Chieftan 52; The Archer 47.5.

8. Bengal Area Cup, Div-II 1,200m (Cl III, Rt. 44-72) 4 pm: Ornate Crown 60; Super Smile 59.5; Comedy of Errors 58.5; Giorgio 57; Queen�s Logic 55.5; Venus 55.5; Fairy Prince 55; Carbon Copy 54.5; Almond Rock 54; Starina 52; Secret Adversary 51.5.

Jackpot: 4; 5; 6; 7 & 8.

Treble: (i) 2; 3 & 4; (ii) 6; 7 & 8.


Calcutta, Dec. 20: 
Blue Gardenia and Access All Areas were impressive in today�s workouts.

Outer sand track

1,400m: Midnight Escape (Rb) in 1-53; (400m) 32s.

1,200m: Cool Quest (Som S.) in 1-29s; (400m) 28s. Easy.

800m: Antequera (Bird) in 56s; (400m) 25s. Handy. Grecian Prince (Yasin) in 1-2s; (400m) 31s. Comedy of Errors (Bird) in 57s; (400m) 26s. Pushed. Venus (Som S.) in 55s; (400m) 28s. Moved well. Jeypore (Shanker) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Winning Hand (Smith) in 56s; (400m) 30s. Easy. Tsaynen Blue (Smith) and Fencai (Gowli) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Former 2 ls better. Too good. Rare Gold (C. Alford) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Calabash (C. Alford) in 55s; (400m) 25s. Moved attractively. Raaz (Smith) in 56s; (400m) 29s. Blue Gardenia (Rutherford) and Earl Grey (Rb) in 55s; (400m) 28s. Former 2 ls better. Acess All Areas (C. Alford) in 56s; (400m) 27s. Good. A 2yo Sir Bruce/Golden Horn (C. Alford) and Social Butterfly (Domingo) in 1-1s; (400m) 31s. Former far better.

600m: Crystal Moon (Kujur) and Cat Storm (Amjad) in 40s; (400m) 27s. Former far better.

Sand track

1,400m: Spanish Drum�s (Yasin) in 1-35s; (400m) 28s. Moved well. Solo Act (Brij S.) in 1-45s; (400m) 31s.

1,200m: Sagittarian (Rutherford) in 1-24s; (400m) 28s. Easy.

800m: Carbon Copy (Gajender) in 54s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Lovely Prospect (Locke) in 57s; (400m) 28s. Ornate Crown (Yacoob) and Peter Pepper (Gajender) in 52s; (400m) 25s. Former a length better.


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