England pip ahead in close chase
Sourav: Win would have tasted better
Indians again make the mistake of chasing
Uttam leaps to top
Uzbek boxers for YMCA meet
Deep joins Eden practice
Wes Hall to be chief guest
St Xavier’s in final
Bangalore Racing/ Concur for main event
Mumbai Racing/ Blushing Minstrel wins ‘Million’

New Delhi, Jan. 31: 
England 271/5 (50 ovs)
India 269/8 (50 ovs)

Two batsmen returned to form today: Andrew Flintoff and Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly. Both played vital knocks but Flintoff’s captivating 52 off 39 balls won today’s one-day International match for England here. In the space of five overs (40 to 45) Flintoff and centurion Nick Knight plundered 50 runs. England accelerated from an impressive 194 for two to an imposing 244 for two. Flintoff plundered 13 and 12 runs, respectively, off both Jawagal Srinath and Ajit Agarkar and his cavalier knock took the game away from India, albeit with only two runs separating the two innings.

Sourav’s knock fluctuated from the gritty to the fluent, but his 74 off 95 balls took India to the threshold of victory, though not quite. When he got out (40.1 overs), lofting Ashley Giles to long off (“the bat turned in my hand,” was his explanation), India were in a winning position. The hosts were 211 for four and needed 60 runs off ten overs. But shrewd captaincy by Nasser Hussain and a youthful Indian middle-order unable to cope with pressure (four wickets fell for 28 runs) were turning points in this match. Ultimately, the rub of the green went England’s way and their narrow win was a mixture of dame fortune, sheer guts and professionalism.

The other side of England’s win was some astute thinking by coach Duncan Fletcher. Gangling left arm spinner Ashley Giles had a nightmarish first spell. Sourav struck him for three towering sixes, twice over long on and once through midwicket. Giles’ figures were 4-0-32-0. In his only previous match, in Calcutta he had figures of 6-0-41-1 and Indian batsmen were finding in him easy pickings in the one dayers.

Fletcher’s wisdom

However, then the shrewd Fletcher made him change ends and bowl round the wicket to tuck in the left handed Sourav. The ploy clicked. Sourav holed out to Owais Shah, substituting for Knight, laid low in the afternoon with the ‘Delhi belly’. Giles was also asked “to keep it tight to right handers” and he ended up with five for 57 in his ten overs, his best ever figures since he made his one day debut in 1998. His previous best was two for 37.

Another crucial difference in today’s match were the selection of the playing XIs. England’s thinktank made three changes from the team which was annihilated in Kanpur. Giles, wicketkeeper James Foster and medium pacer Andrew Caddick replaced Jeremy Snape, Ben Hollioake and Mathew Hoggard. All played vital roles in England’s win.

Caddick, bowled a tight spell, extracted extra bounce and got the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, caught behind for 18. Foster, misssed one stumping off Sourav, but otherwise was compact with two catches and a neat stumping off Ajay Ratra.

Untimely initiation

In contrast the one change that India made, proved to be a blunder. At the insistence of the selectors, especially Madanlal and Chandu Borde, off spinner Sarandeep Singh made his one-day debut replacing the ‘turbanator’ Harbhajan Singh. The selectors’ reasoning was that that with India 3-1 up, Sarandeep would not have much pressure on his debut. However, the expected dream debut turned sour. Sarandeep was stiff, strayed in line and length and tried to bowl too flat and fast. He went for 21 runs in his first spell off three overs and 13 in his next spell off two overs. Sourav also showed little faith in Sarandeep and there was little guidance from the skipper.

India’s much vaunted spin attack thus did not ply on all cylinders. Anil Kumble bowled a tight spell and though wicketless, curbed the scoring, going for just 37 runs in his ten overs. Sachin with his mixture of slow and fast off spin, got the wicket of Hussain but otherwise went for five runs an over. Srinath in his second spell checked England. Otherwise, England at 244 for two in the 45th over had their sights on a total in the range of 280-290.

India showed that fightbacks are possible even when Sachin is dismissed early. Even at 245 for eight, with just three overs remaining, the gutsy Agarkar and Sarandeep did not capitulate. They (Agarkar hit two well timed fours) took ten runs off Gough’s ninth over and at 255 for eight with two overs remaining, India sniffed an improbable win. It proved a bridge too far, as requiring nine runs in Gough’s last over, the Indian duo just managed six runs, but they gave England a fright.

Sourav batted sensibly. He took 12 deliveries to get off the mark, a lofted straight drive off Gough. In the beginning he nudged and placed for singles and twos. He got a life when he was on 13 and India were 90 for two. Foster did not gather the ball properly, as Sourav jumped out to drive offie Michael Vaughan. But after this miss, there was no looking back. Slowly the fluent timing and the deft footwork to counter the spinners returned. It was Sourav’s day, except the result, as he answered the carping critics with some sublime batting.


New Delhi, Jan. 31: 
At the crowded post-match press conference, the main talking point was a brief stoppage of the game, due to pelting at some English fielders. Three English fielders, Michael Vaughan, Graham Thorpe and Andrew Flintoff were struck either on the shin or the back by pellets.

Many English scribes questioned skipper Nasser Hussain on the issue and asked if he was going to complain about this to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) or the International Cricket Council (ICC). However, a phlegmatic Hussain took it in his stride.

“When Flintoff came to me complaining that he was struck painfully on the shoulders, I decided to complain to the authorities. But I am happy that the trouble was nipped in the bud and so we are not going to complain or make much of this problem,” said Hussain.

On being asked to bat first, Hussain said: “It suited us. We would have batted first anyway. Our game plan was to put India under pressure and we knew we could do this only if we pile up a big total, batting first. I felt that 270 was a good score and allowed our bowlers to pressurise the Indians into mistakes.

About the victory, the England skipper said, “it was a team effort that did it. Gough, Caddick and Giles bowled well and all our front line batsmen got runs. I am really happy that Flintoff has rediscovered his batting form, as he can be a match-winner. Also persisting with Nick Knight has helped. He batted responsibly today.

Incidentally it was Knight’s fourth one-day century. The previous ones came against Pakistan (two) and the West Indies (one).

For Hussain’s Indian counterpart, it was the best of times and worst of times. The return to form was pleasing but as Sourav Ganguly said, “runs would have been more pleasing if we had won.”

About putting the opposition into bat first for the second time (earlier in the second one-dayer in Cuttack) and losing, Sourav felt that he had not made a mistake. He said the facts that it was winter in North India, the wickets were damp and full of dew, prompted him to take such a decision.

About Sarandeep Singh’s inclusion, Sourav made it clear that “he was selected by the selectors.” He, however, defended the Delhi offie, saying, “Sarandeep has done well on the domestic circuit (taken five wickets in nearly every match) and today was a tough game and he will learn from it.”

The Indian captain was also full of praise for Mohammed Kaif, while Coach John Wright felt that the ground fielding today was quite sharp and the throwing accurate.

Man of the Match, Ashley Giles, said he was worried about getting a second spell after an unimpressive first spell (32 runs for four overs).

“I am a positive bloke and when I got the ball again, I was determined to do well. The tip to bowl round the wicket (from coach Duncan Fletcher) and to “fire it in a bit” helped. I was trying to contain but got wickets regularly.”


India paid the price for repeating the mistake of putting England in to bat, quite like they did in Cuttack. They might console themselves by saying that they lost by only two runs and that they had won the previous two matches by chasing a target rather than setting it. However, the previous two tosses were won by Nasser Hussain, hence India did not have the choice. But here they did have the option, having won the toss, and they should have batted first and put the pressure on England by piling up a big score.

They did not learn from Hussain’s error in asking India to chase in a curtailed match and then of course their slow movers gave away some valuable runs which proved to be the difference in the end.

England players kept their heads up in spite of the initial assault from Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag and later when the captain Sourav Ganguly and Mohammed Kaif were taking the game away from them. Their fielding was athletic and though they missed a couple of simple catches, their spirits did not flag and they kept chasing the ball till the end. In contrast, India were content to give the singles and when the ball went past them they did not make any serious effort to chase it and stop it going over the boundary. Unless the fielding aspect improves India are going to struggle if their batsmen don’t click, which is bound to happen sometimes.

India’s decision to bring Sarandeep Singh in place of Harbhajan Singh also was strange considering the series was still not decided, and the off-spinner under pressure crumbled as he was attacked. It also showed in his fielding, where he gave away some easy runs.

Nick Knight’s capital innings set the tempo for England and it was good to see Hussain bat positively and score some runs. Flintoff too batted sensibly instead of trying to hoist every ball and still scored at faster than a run-a-ball and it was mainly their efforts that saw England to the total that they had at the end.

Though Sachin disappointed, his clone Sehwag did not. Of course, his home crowd would have liked him to score a century and take India to a victory. The big plus was the captain’s return to form. He did the wise thing by dropping himself down the order to keep the in-form pair of Sachin and Sehwag going and then built his innings up nicely.

Kaif too batted pleasingly, running hard between the wickets which may not have been to Sourav’s liking, but Badani failed again. India could do well to have the option of Bangar coming in at number six, because he can turn his arm over too. If Bangar gets the same opportunities that Badani is getting he may well turn out to be the kind of utility player India is looking for.


Calcutta, Jan. 31: 
Calcutta remained on top on the second day of The Telegraph Open championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club today. Overnight leader Firoz Ali’s erratic form pushed him down to fourth spot, but despite a moderate two under 70 score, his city-mate Uttam Singh Mundy made it to the top of the leaderboard on a perfect golfing day.

The twice Honda-Siel PGA champion from Calcutta, looking for his first title on the Hero Honda Golf Tour this season, aggregated two-under 142 to lead by one stroke over Gaurav Ghei of Delhi and Digvijay Singh of Meerut, tied at one-under 143. Firoz slipped to the fourth place after a round of three-over 75.

Mundy shot as many as six birdies. However, his good work was undone by four birdies, three of which came in the first seven holes.

“I gave myself several opportunities and am happy to have posted a two-under 70, especially after being two-over after seven holes. However, being in lead was a bit of surprise as I thought conditions were ripe for good scores,” said Mundy who is currently ranked fourth in the Hero Honda Indian Golf Tour.

Ghei, coming out of a fortnight-long rest, was a picture of consistency as he returned the best card of the day. Ghei, winner of the Wills Masters on this very course in 2000, made three birdies in a bogey-free round.

“The course was playing much better today after yesterday’s rains. I am playing well and am hopeful of a better result than last week’s” said Ghei, who birdied the eighth hole after holing his bunker shot.

Digvijay, on the other hand, missed several birdie chances during his round, which contained three birdies and one bogey.

Firoz made two double bogeys, on the seventh and ninth, which followed bogeys on the fifth and sixth as he finished the front nine in three-over. A much more composed Firoz made one birdie and one bogey on the back nine to finish the day at three-over 75.

“I could not get going today. The two double bogeys were costly mistakes. Given the scores posted today, it was a perfect opportunity for me to seal the tournament with a good round today,” a disappointed 1998-Indian Open champion said.

Among the other well-known names, local favourite Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia shot a 70 to jump up to tied fifth place along side Order of Merit leader Mukesh Kumar, who returned his second successive 73. Indrajit Bhalotia, Shiv Prakash and Suleman Ali were the other players tied for the fifth place at two-over 146.

Meanwhile, Aditya Khaitan opened a nine-stroke lead over second placed Anshuman Fogla in the amateur section. Khaitan totalled 157 for the two rounds, while Fogla was at 166.

SCORES (after 36 holes): 142 — Uttam Singh Mundy (72,70); 143 — Gaurav Ghei (74,69), Digvijay Singh (73,70); 144 — Firoz Ali (69,75); 146 — SSP Chowrasia (76,70), Mukesh Kumar (73,73), Indrajit Bhalotia (71,75), Shiv Prakash (71,75), Suleman Ali (70,76); 147 — Monish Bindra (70,77); 148 — Rafiq Ali (75,73), Mohd Salim (74,74), Jaiveer Virk (72,76).


Calcutta, Jan. 31: 
Azizjan Rahmanov of Uzbekistan, the current world cadet champion, will lead a pack of drawcards in the international YMCA boxing championship, starting tomorrow in New Delhi.

Azizjan won the gold in 81 kg category in the meet, held in Baku in November. Aziz Ulugov is another top Uzbek boxer having won a silver medal in the Golden Ring tournament in Poland in October last.

The Uzbeks will have a tough time against the British pugilists, who are all national champions in their respective categories. According to information received here, boxers from Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Chinese Taipei and Syria will add further international flavour to the February 1-4 meet. Most of the boxers, who are in the team, travelled to England three months ago.


Calcutta, Jan. 31: 
The Bengal Ranji squad for the February 5-9 quarter final tie against Gujarat carried out its first full-fledged practice session at the Eden today after truncated sessions over the past two days due to rain.

Deep Dasgupta, who was nursing a hand injury apparently sustained in the tie with Rajasthan attended the practice sessions for the first time today.

Bengal coach Woorkeri Raman said after today’s session that Sourav Ganguly’s presence in the Bengal side could only help to boost the “boys’ morale” especially the youngsters, who would naturally look up to the Indian captain. “He will also add variety to our bowling,” he said.

The team is expected to be named tomorrow.


Calcutta, Jan. 31: 
Former West Indian pace bowler Wesley Hall will be the chief guest at the CAB-organised blood donation camp on Sunday to mark Frank Worrell Day.

Hall will arrive in the city early tomorrow morning and visit the camp at the Eden on Sunday.

The number of donors has risen over the years, from 446 in the inaugural camp in 1981 to 1698 last year.

Apart from the main event at the B.C. Roy Club House at the Eden Gardens, blood will also be donated in seven districts — Murshidabad, Burdwan, West and East Midnapore, Jalpaiguri, Bankura and Purulia.


Calcutta, Jan. 31: 
St. Xavier’s Collegiate School lived up to their top billing when they swept into the boys’ final of the fifth inter-school tennis meet at the SAI centre here today. The Xaverians will meet Cartouche School in the final on Saturday.

In the girls’ section, La Martiniere will clash with Ashok Hall for the title.


Boys’—St. Xavier’s Collegiate School bt Calcutta Boys’ School 2-1 (Saurav Sukul bt Utsav Goswami 6-0, 6-0; Shoib Hussain lost to Sabyasachi Bose 1-6, 3-6; Saurav Sukul/Samrat Ghosh bt Sabyasachi Bose/Uttam Goswami 6-3, 6-2). Cartouche School bt Don Bosco 2-1 (Rupesh Roy bt Vinay Sethia 6-0, 6-1; Md. Imran lost to Nirvick Mohinta 1-6, 1-6; Rupesh Roy/Md Imran bt Nirvick Mohinta/Vinay Sethia 6-4, 4-6, 6-1). Girls’— La Martniere bt Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan 2-0 (Ragini Vimal bt Alpa Maheshwari 6-0, 6-1; Shivika Burman bt Rohini Das 7-5, 6-2). Ashok Hall bt Modern High 2-0 (Karina Ahuja bt Urvashi Surana 6-0, 6-0; Priyanka Parekh bt Sneha Sinha 6-1, 6-1).


Bangalore, Jan. 31: 
The Dominic-trained Concur is expected to lift the 1,400m R. W. I. C. T. Cup tomorrow’s main attraction here. F. Norton partners the Binkhaldoun-Blue Orchid son.


2 pm: Pelf 1. Florale 2. Triple X 3.

2.30 pm: Auric 1. Diamonds Galore 2. Little Genny 3.

3 pm: Slanka 1. Bold Bird 2. Kingley 3.

3.30 pm: Atomic Fusion 1. Anzac 2. Silvano 3.

4 pm: Concur 1. Aerobee 2. Magic Stride 3.

4.30 pm: Nimitz 1. Cool Camp 2. River Nile 3.

5 pm: Sacristia 1. Whatmore 2. Silvanus 3.

5.30 pm: Xorra 1. Worldly Pick 2. Laplander 3.

Day’s Best: Sacristia

Double: Auric & Nimitz


Mumbai, Jan. 31: 
Trained by Tadywalla and ridden by C. Lemaire, Blushing Minstrel posted an upset victory the Y. M Chaudhry Memorial Million in Mumbai on Thursday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Thundering Beauty Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (5-1-3) Las Mareas (M. Narredu) 1; The Gladiator 2; Betsy 3. Not run: Golden Hill (6). Won by: 5; 3-1/4; (1-13). Tote: Win Rs 29; Place: 15; 11; 19; Quinella: 30; Tanala: 166. Fav: The Gladiator (1).

2. Decoration Plate 1,100m: (7-9-2) River Rainbow (Prakash) 1; Verzzano 2; Noble Eagle 3. Won by: 3/4; 4; (1-7.4). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 10; 13; 27; Quinella: 19; Tanala: 109. Fav: River Rainbow (7).

3. Kr. Ramkrishan Singh Trophy 2,400m: (7-1-5) Avantage (McCullagh) 1; Aureus 2; Cozumel 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 7-1/2; (2-33.5). Tote: Win Rs 31; Place: 12; 13; 31; Quinella: 33; Tanala: 383. Fav: Avantage (7).

4. Governor’s Trophy 2,000m: (5-1-4) Seychelles (Kader) 1; Crystal Sky 2; Mille Fiori 3. Won by: 1/2; 2-1/2; (2-5.7). Tote: Win Rs 35; Place: 20; 55; Quinella: 189; Tanala: 590. Fav: Mille Fiori (4).

5. Thundering Beauty Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (3-2-1) Kissimmee (Kader) 1; Clever Talk 2; Attia In Sunlight 3. Won by: 3-1/4; SH; (1-14). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 13; 14; 14; Quinella: 39; Tanala: 88. Fav: Missimmee (3).

6.Y. M. Chaudhry Memorial Million 1,200m: (1-4-9) Blushing Minstrel (Lemaire) 1; Rosmini 2; Snow Fields 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 1-3/4; (1-11.6). Tote: Win Rs 136; Place: 22; 10; 15; Quinella: 87; Tanala: 831. Fav: Prince Valiant (3).

7. Palace Girl Plate 1,000m: (3-11-1) Anchors Aweigh (Aadesh) 1; Partner Perfect 2; Bearer Bond 3. Won by: 3/4; 2; (1-1). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 13; 44; 46; Quinella: 382; Tanala: 7,849. Fav: Anchors Aweigh (3).

8. Air Dash Plate 1,400m: (7-4-5) Cool Water (Rupesh) 1; Sarena Pride 2; Arctic Star 3. Won by: 2-1/4; SH; (1-26). Tote: Win Rs 52; Place: 21; 24; 17; Quinella: 314; Tanala: 1,236. Fav: Arctic Star (5).

9. My Smasher Plate 1,100m: (1-3-7) Eye To Eye (Sandeep) 1; Moira 2; Hiccups 3. Won by: Nk; 1-3/4; (1-7). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 13; 19; 63; Quinella: 62; Tanala: 1,060. Fav: Eye To Eye (1).

Jackpot: Rs11,214; (C) Rs 2,422.

Treble: (i) Rs 76; (ii) Rs 513; (iii) Rs 368.


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