The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fine knocks by Akash, Yuvraj
- Board XI vs NZ Tie - Duo stitches unbroken 166-run stand, but Das fails

Visakhapatnam: Promising opener Akash Chopra and left-hander Yuvraj Singh made a strong case for their Test selection with fine knocks in the rain-marred three-day tour opener against New Zealand on Sunday.

Delhi opener Chopra scored a grinding 103 not out (264b, 358m, 5x4) while Yuvraj remained unconquered with a flashy 80 (172b, 219m, 7x4, 2x6), helping Board Presidentís XI reach 227 for one as curtains came down on the visitorsí opening fixture at the ACA-VDCA Stadium.

Play was called off after 9.5 mandatory overs, soon after Chopra completed his hundred, disdainfully despatching the Black Caps spinner Paul Wiseman to the midwicket fence.

Chopra and Yuvraj stitched together an unbroken 166-run partnership to send clear signals to the national selectors ahead of the Ahmedabad Test beginning on October 8.

After the disappointment of the first two days, when heavy rains allowed only 46 minutes of cricket, things looked up with sun breaking through the clouds on the final day.

When play resumed on Sunday, overnight unbeaten batsman and Board Presidentís XI skipper Virender Sehwag did not come out to bat due to indisposition. Instead, Shiv Sundar Das, another contender for the openerís slot, walked in.

The Orissa batsman, however, failed to make use of the opportunity and made an early exit after scoring only 16 runs.

Earlier, resuming at the first dayís score of 23 ó the second day undergoing a complete wash out ó the hosts reached 48 without loss at lunch, after the match had a delayed start due to a soggy outfield.

New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming gave long spells to Vettori and Wiseman, to give them some much-needed practice ahead of the Tests.

Chopra went for his shots from the outset but the heavy outfield meant boundaries were hard to come by.

As the sun came out, however, the Delhi batsman grew in confidence and hit a number of exquisite shots.

Das, however, failed to impress the selectors when he returned to the pavilion in the ninth over after lunch after being caught by wicketkeeper Robbie Hart off pacer Ian Butler, the visitorsí only success of the day.

Das tried to glance down the leg-side but only managed a nick and Hart dived full length to his left to bring off a fine catch inches off the ground.

Yuvraj took time to settle down but then, made his intentions clear with a series of aggressive strokes. He repeatedly stepped out to the spinners and hit the first four of the day smacking left-arm spinner Vettori to the long-off fence.

Towards the close of the session, Yuvraj brought on the 100 of the innings in style pulling Wiseman over the ropes into the midwicket stand for the first six of the match, much to the joy of a 2000-strong crowd.

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