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The Electronic Telegraph British Universities v Indians, Match Report
Norman Harris - 26-28 June 1996

Day 1: Manjrekar dances his way to century

First day of three: The Indians are 389-5 against British Universities

While Scott Boswell, a spirited good old-fashioned fast bowler, was rewarded with a fine wicket for the British Universities, it was the footwork of Sanjay Manjrekar that caught the eye here yesterday.

There was no hint of the Indian's ankle injury in the frequency and certainty with which he danced out to drive. Early on, he swept a powerful six and before long he was making life a misery for the off-spinners, Richard Dibden and Mark Wagh, both being dispatchedfor three fours in an over.

Manjrekar's hundred quite put the 73 of Mohammed Azharuddin in the shade, his captain's runs made at a cautious and understandably convalescent pace.

``It's good to be back on the field again and though the ankle is still weak, from now on it is a mental thing,'' Manjrekar said. He is now expected to replace Ajay Jadeja in next week's third Test against England at Trent Bridge.

Day 2: Indian signs are hard to fathom

Second day of three: Indians (457-6 dec & 2-0) lead British Univs (217) by 242 runs

A shudder went around Fenner's yesterday. It came not from events on the field, where the Indian spinners were resisted with spirit until they got into the tail, but from the rumour that touring sides did not want to play the students anymore.

The Australians, it was said, were rejecting traditional fixtures next summer against amateur, minor county and student opposition; and the Indians felt likewise. But the Australian fixtures have not yet been confirmed, so the hope is that the home authorities will insist on continuing to give experience to the best university players, at least.

But how good was this intelligence, which stemmed from the Indian camp? It was also said that the tourists' impatience at this fixture would cause them to bat only once and seek to win as quickly as possible. In the event, they declined to enforce the follow-on.

The students did well to recover their poise after a dismaying start, poor Chinmay Gupte falling first ball of the innings to a perfectly delivered off-stump yorker.

The new man, Anurag Singh, was quickly into the stride which has brought him runs against the counties. On 49, a handsomely formed off-drive would have produced his ninth four, but instead the leg-stump went down. Narendra Hirwani, meanwhile, took six wickets.

Day 3: Indians content on batting go-slow

Pity anyone who paid to watch the final day at Fenner's. Not only was the Indians' intention to bat out the day quite clear, they started at a slower pace than for any other phase of the match -barely one run an over.

It was apparent that everyone, umpires included, were hoping that early afternoon rain would put an end to it, but unluckily the sky brightened and forced a continuation.

The biggest beneficiary was Rahul Dravid, with his first century of the tour, while the bright spot for the students was the bowling of the energetic Scott Boswell.

He gained the early wicket of Vikram Rathore, caught in the slips from an uncertain back defensive stroke, and when he returned much later he still looked genuinely quick, with decent bounce, on an unhelpful pitch.

But watching cricketers practise is not the same thing as watching a cricket match - unhappily, a match that was unique among recent student games against the touring teams, all the rest of which have seen the universities batting in the final innings.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk