Indians look to wrap up series
Bagan, Salgaocar in barren draw
Firoz fires 3-under to lead after Day 1
Sachin attends service
Sourav likely for Ranji tie
Seniors� meet
Calcutta Racing/ Aberdan wins
Mumbai Racing/ Prince Valiant for �Million�

New Delhi, Jan. 30: 
A trip to Taj Mahal is always on top of the list for all teams touring India. When the mighty Australians came here last year, they skipped nets before a three-day match and made a quick dash to witness the marvel in white marble. Incidentally, Australia�s fortunes dipped after visiting Agra and they lost the remaining Tests in Calcutta and Chennai.

Today, England had a brisk net practice, shunned the media and rushed to catch a flight to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Will it rejuvenate the morale of a struggling team or sink them further in despair? That was the question doing the rounds here, on the eve of tomorrow�s fifth one-day International between India and England to be played at the Kotla.

Fans here are hoping that India would maintain their domination but on the other hand, Nasser Hussain�s young team would also like to prove that beating India in a one-dayer in their own backyard is not such a Herculean task.

There is sufficient motivation in Indian ranks as well. Skipper Sourav Ganguly and coach John Wright emphasised, after some extensive work-out, that they want to win big. They feel another convincing win would dispel thoughts of inconsistency and silence critics. A win here will also help them wrap up the series and enable some experimentation in the last tie in Mumbai. In contrast, England have to win tomorrow to reduce the margin to 2-3 and keep the series alive.

There was speculation that Sarandeep Singh would make his debut but that means the in-form Harbhajan Singh will have to be rested, which seems highly unlikely. The Indians feel fielding Sarandeep on a typically placid Kotla wicket with short boundaries will be too much of a risk. It could also affect his confidence and the team management has decided against making changes to the side fielded in Kanpur.

�The series is not yet decided. We cannot be complacent and allow England to come back. We would like to keep winning till Mumbai,� Sourav said. Wright also hinted that the Kanpur XI would be retained. �I don�t anticipate the balance of the side to be much different.� However, the skipper maintained that the final XI would be picked only after the arrival of the selectors.

About his own form and fitness Sourav looked satisfied. He said he would open the batting with Sachin Tendulkar. �I have been hitting the ball well though I realise I need a big score�. This is an ideal stage for him to come good as curators Ram Adhar Chowdhury (cleared from the match-fixing scandal by the Madhavan Commission) and Hashim Ali said the wicket will be good for batting.

England, though not complaining about lobsters, shrimps and pollution unlike previous tours, are livid about what they feel is incompetent � umpiring. A siege like mentality has developed in their team and some dubious decisions have brought back memories of earlier nightmares of touring the sub-continent.

This came to the fore today, after their two-hour morning practise at the Kotla. The team hurriedly left the stadium and the media manager curtly said: �We are rushing back to the hotel to catch a flight to Agra. As far as I know, speaking to the press is not mandatory.�

Clamour for tickets

The demand for tickets has escalated and the precious piece of paper is selling like hot cakes in the black market. Those priced at Rs 250 are being sold at Rs 2,000. The highest-priced ticket officially worth Rs 2,000 is going at Rs 6,000-7,000. The Delhi and District Cricket Association has put just 6,000 of the 28,000 tickets for public sale. The distribution of about 15,000 complimentaries is also not clear.


INDIA (likely): Sourav Ganguly (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Mongia, Mohammed Kaif, Hemang Badani, Virender Sehwag, Ajay Ratra, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Ajit Agarkar, Jawagal Srinath.

ENGLAND (from): Nasser Hussain (captain), Marcus Trescothick, Nick Knight, Michael Vaughan, Paul Collingwood, Ben Hollioake, Graham Thorpe, Jeremy Snape, James Foster, Andrew Flintoff, Matthew Hoggard, Ashley Giles, Andrew Caddick, Darren Gough, Craig White.

Umpires: Subroto Porel and Aloke Bhattacharya.

Third umpire: B. K. Sadashiv.


Calcutta, Jan. 30: 
Coach Subrata Bhattacharya may disagree, but Mohun Bagan without Jose Ramirez Barreto, their undisputed saviour, look the picture of ordinariness.

Today�s goalless National Football League tie between the two-time champions and Salgaocar SC at Salt Lake Stadium lent enough credence to this view as Subrata�s wards did everything but what matters most � scoring a goal.

In the absence of Barreto�s �Midas touch�, the likes of Abdulateef Seriki and R.C. Prakash never appeared bold enough to rise above their �mortality� and as the match wore on, they ended up chasing the proverbial wild goose.

Thus, after the tenth round of the NFL, Mohun Bagan have lost a point as well as their place on the top of the table. Mahindra United and ITI pipped Bagan on goal difference (all being on 19 points), while Salgaocar remained fifth with 16 points.

The home team almost took the lead in the first minute itself. Out of a melee, Basudeb Mondal chanced upon the ball inside the box but the playmaker�s feeble, hastily-taken shot posed no threat to an alert Salgaocar custodian Kalyan Choubey.

This was followed by a period of relentless invasions by Mohun Bagan, most of which culminated in some shocking blunders by the forwards.Their thrust into the penetrative zone lacked innovation, further proving the point of Mohun Bagan�s over-dependence on the Brazilian to tide over such crises. And there was, of course, the Salgaocar goalkeeper, standing tall against his former club. At least on three occasions, Choubey effected smothering saves, denying Mohun Bagan in close encounters.

Mohun Bagan got their best chance early into the second half. Basudeb sent in a measured right-wing free-kick towards the box and captain Debjit Ghosh turned it back to the path of Seriki. The Nigerian, however, shot the ball over the bar from six-yard zone.

The 65th-minute substitute Amar Ganguly, then, messed up another chance from almost the same region, attempting a side-volley in vain.

Salgaocar, who thrashed defending champions East Bengal 4-0 at home in the previous match, resigned to a safety-first mode, crowding their rearguard and depending on some rare counter-attacks.Their ploy succeeded in frustrating the Mohun Bagan forward line and after weathering the initial storm, they began concentrating on developing offensives along the flanks.

Minutes before the interval, Sunday Seah, having received a ball from the midfield, suddenly found himself in an open space. With Mohun Bagan defenders Hussain Mustafi and Rishi Kapoor following him and �keeper Rajat Ghosh Dastidar coming up to close the gap, the Liberian entered the dreaded area but his shot hit the side netting.

Then, on the verge of halftime, an Amauri da Silva blunder almost cost his team a goal. The defender, not seeing Seah charging behind him, let a tendered low-cross go past him. Rajat, who had, however, a clear view of what was going to happen, came up timely to foil the danger at the cost of his departure from the field through a shoulder injury.


MOHUN BAGAN: Rajat Ghosh Dastidar (Prasanta Dora, 45); Dulal Biswas, Abdul Saliyu (Hussain Mustafi, 27), Amauri da Silva, Rishi Kapoor; Bungo Singh (Amar Ganguly, 65), Basudeb Mondal, Debjit Ghosh, Rennedy Singh; Abdulateef Seriki, R.C. Prakash.

SALGAOCAR SC: Kalyan Choubey; Roberto Fernandes, Covin Lawrence, Franky Barreto, Bello Rasaq; Denis Carbal, Majekodumni Olubiyi, Eugene Gray (Bruno Cutinho, 89), Sunday Seah; Alvita D�Cunha (Dharamjit Singh, 60), Alex Ambrose (Climax Lawrence, 88).

Referee: Rizwan-ul-Haq (Delhi).

Nandy shifted from ICU

Tollygunge Agragami �keeper Sandip Nandy, who lost consciousness after suffering a concussion during a match at Salt Lake Stadium yesterday, has been shifted from the Intensive Care Unit and is reported to be better.

�Sandip�s condition is better now and he may be released any time,� Dr Shanti Ranjan Dasgupta, who attended the footballer on and off the field said. �However, there is a lateral quarry down his right ear, and he needs about ten days rest before resuming practice,� he added.


Calcutta, Jan. 30: 

Firoz Ali�s impressive run in the Hero Honda Indian Golf Tour continued as he took the lead after Round I in the inaugural Rs 10 lakh The Telegraph Open, which began at the par-72 Royal Calcutta Golf Club today.

Firoz, displaying his prowess over the course he virtually grew up at, put himself in line for his fourth title in six starts and finished the day at three-under 69 despite inclement weather till noon.

Two unheralded youngsters from Delhi � Suleman Ali and Monish Bindra � followed the leader at two-under 70. Indrajit Bhalotia, Chini Ali and Shiv Prakash were tied for the fourth place at one-under 71.

Mukesh Kumar made a slow but steady start and was tied for the 11th place at one-over 73. Gaurav Ghei was among the eight tied for the 15th place at two-over 74.

The Royal greens played true and fast despite the rains.

Firoz is going through a phase every sportsman dreams to. After being pipped at the post by Bhalotia in the HT ProGolf at the Tollygunge Club, the 1998 Indian Open winner has been in superb touch. With a string of success, he is now posing a major threat to runaway Order of Merit leader Mukesh Kumar�s chances of winning the Mahindra Champion Player of the Year award for the third successive season.

Firoz would be ruing missing a birdie on the par-five fourth, but made up for the mistake with birdies on the first, ninth, 15th and 16th. His only bogey of the day came on the fifth.

Bindra, Rookie of the Year in 1997-98, excelled on the first nine after starting from the 10th tee. He made a hattrick of birdies from the 14th onwards, and his only bogey came on the ninth, his final hole of the day. Suleman bogeyed the final 18th after starting from the first but birdies on the second, eighth and 15th ensured him the second best card of the day.

Aditya Khaitan was leading the amateurs with 77. Varun Sahay was second at 78.


Bangalore, Jan. 30: 
Sachin Tendulkar took time off before tomorrow�s ODI with England in Delhi to be present for his close friend and marketing agent Mark Mascarenhas� memorial service at the St. Patrick�s church here today.

The WorldTel chief had died in a car crash near Nagpur last Sunday.

A crestfallen Sachin, in an all-black suit, accompanied by wife Anjali went through the elaborate 90-minute service.

Also present were Ravi Shastri, Ian Chappel, Syed Kirmani and Brijesh Patel.


Calcutta, Jan. 30: 
India captain Sourav Ganguly is almost certain to play for Bengal in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final tie versus Gujarat, at Eden Gardens from February 5 to 9.

CAB joint-secretary Bablu Kolay said today that though he was yet to talk to Sourav over this matter, he�d got an intimation from the BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya about his chance of playing.

UP fight back

In Cuttack, UP fought back in their pre-quarter final against Orissa adds PTI. After conceding a 89-run lead, UP made 369 for nine at close on the penultimate day to take 280-run lead.

BRIEF SCORES: UP 231 & 369/9 (Jyoti Yadav 73, Rizwan Shamshad 59, Manoj Mudgal 61n.o.; Debashish Mohanty 3/93). Match to continue.


Calcutta, Jan. 30: 
The Seniors cricket match between the Gentlemen of Calcutta led by the Governor of Bengal, Viren Shah and the Players of Calcutta led by Gen. Shankar Roychowdhury (retd.), former Chief of Army Staff, due to be held at the CC&FC tomorrow has been postponed because of inclement weather. New dates will be announced shortly.

Inter-school tennis

S. James were knocked out of the inter-school tennis meet today. They lost 1-2 against Cartouche School in the quarter finals in boys� section.


Calcutta, Jan. 30: 
The Bharath Singh-trained Aberdan won the upper division the Eastern Air Command Cup, here on today.


1. Atreas Handicap 1,400m: (3-9-8-2) Brave Show (Rabani) 1; Keep The Faith (I. Chisty) 2; Calculus (Amil) 3; Bay Dragon (Abraham) 4. Won by: 1/2; 3-3/4; 2-1/2; (1-32.6). Tote: Win Rs 37; Place: 16; 22; 14; Quinella: 254; Tanala: 792. Fav: Calculus (8). Winner trained by Bharath S.

2. Lightning Sketch Handicap 1,400m: (7-2-6-8) Spanish Drum�s (Abraham) 1; Flying Scot (Gowli) 2; Black Mane (Amil) 3; Beau Bruno (Rutherford) 4. Won by: 2-1/4; 1-3/4; 1-1/4; (1-31.6). Tote: Win Rs 31; Place: 14; 24; 42; Quinella: 191; Tanala: 2,505. Fav: Classic Pursuit (4). Winner trained by Daniel D.

3. Pearson Surita Memorial Cup 2,000m: (1-4-6-2) Harry The Horse (Rutherford) 1; Among Men (Gowli) 2; Illustrigous Reign (I. Chisty) 3; Set Aside (Islam) 4. Won by: 5-3/4; SH; Nk; (2-12.1). Tote: Win Rs 296; Place: 42; 14; 27; Quinella: 381; Tanala: 13,440. Fav: Among Men (4). Winner trained by J. Stephens.

4.Galstaun Cup 1,400m: (1-5-6-8) Afflutter (C. Alford) 1; Royal City (Abraham) 2; Saladin (Rutherford) 3; Social Girl (Yasin) 4. Won by: Nk; 5; 5-1/2; (1-33). Tote: Win Rs 27; Place: 12; 13; 14; Quinella: 44; Tanala: 103. Fav: Afflutter (1). Winner trained by Vijay S.

5. Eastern Air Command Cup, Div-I 1,400m: (8-9-1-7) Aberdan (C. Alford) 1; Charlene (Islam) 2; Immaculate (Abraham) 3; Venus (Som S.)4. Won by: 3/4; 1-1/2; 4-1/4; (1-31.4). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 13; 33; 15; Quinella: 113; Tanala: 514. Fav: Aberdan (8). Winner trained by Bharath S.

6. Eastern Air Command Cup, Div-II 1,400m: (3-9-2-6) Raaz (E. Smith) 1; Mr Bombshell (Rabani) 2; Peave Envoy (Abraham) 3; Tajik (A.P. Singh) 4. Won by: SH; 2-3/4; 3/4; (1-31.5). Tote: Win Rs 600; Place: 81; 21; 18; Quinella: 2,191; Tanala: 23,122. Fav: Cool Quest (5). Winner trained by Javed K.

7. Ramkirpal Handicap 1,100m: (12-6-7-5) Finders Keepers (I. Chisty) 1; Zuhaak (Som S.) 2; Fly By Alibi (P. Alford) 3; Storm Centre (Dalpat S.) Won by: 1-1/4; 3/4; 2-1/2; (1-10.2). Tote: Win Rs 53; Place: 16; 19; 46; Quinella: 129; Tanala: 5,177. Fav: Crowned Pricne (4). Winenr trained by Jaiswal.

Jackpot Rs 1,86,823 (Carried over on Februay 16); (C) Rs 48,040.

Treble: (i) Rs 3,040; (ii) Rs 5556.

Mumbai, Jan. 30: 
Prince Valiant may win the Y. M. Chaudhry Memorial Million, at the Mumbai race on Thursday.


2. pm: Las Mareas 1. Examination 2. Betsy 3.
2.30 pm: River Rainbow 1. Verzzano 2. Cagliari 3.
3 pm: Avantage 1. Tap On Power 2. Aureus 3.
3.30 pm: Seychelles 1. Mille Fiori 2. Viking 3.
4 pm: Kissimmee 1. Clever Talk 2. Attia In Sunlight 3.
4.30 pm: Pricne Valiant 1. Rosmini 2. Snow Fields 3.
5 pm: Twinkling Star 1. Glassdream Girl 2. Anchors Aweigh 3.
5.30 pm: Sarena Pride 1. Recognition 2. Accademia 3.
6 pm: Eye To Eye 1. Tagamet 2. Mambo King 3.

Day�s Best: Seychelles

Double: Las Mareas & Eye To Eye.

Wednesday�s Mumbai winners

1st race: Eminent 1; Valencia 2; Furiously 3.
2nd race: Castle Grey 1; Fortune�s Wheel 2; Sanaga 3.
3rd race: Mandalay Bay 1; Sheer Silver 2; Bruno 3.
4th race: Righ Moment 1. Latest News 2; Flossy 3.
5th race: Darkside Ofthemoon 1; Numero Uno 2; C�Est Egal 3.
6th race: Sedona 1; Destiny Calling 2; Flymetothemoon 3.
7th race: Kraftwerk 1; Miss Sunshine 2; Philosopher 3. Not run: Stilleto Xpress.
8th race: Danger Zone 1; Pique 2; Seville Star 3.
9th race: Caribbean Star 1; Aurelia 2; Bliss-Leavitt 3.

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