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The Electronic Telegraph Tour Match: Middlesex v India, Match Report
DJ Rutnagur - 19 May 1996

Indians take heart from batsmen

Indians (232-8) bt Middlesex (192-7) on faster scoring rate

A seaming pitch, previously used, and a chilly wind did not pro- vide the Indians with ideal conditions for their dress rehearsal for the one-day series, beginning on Thursday.

However, their win, made easier by a break for rain which caused Middlesex's target to be revised, will have helped morale, particularly as it was achieved without a contribution with the bat from Sachin Tendulkar.

For their part, Middlesex, who won the toss and put the Indi- ans in, bowled exceptionally well and the openers, Vikram Rathore, who has been a prolific scorer so far on this tour, and Tendulkar were both back in the pavilion with only 10 runs on the board.

With the ball moving about, pinch-hitting was out of the ques- tion and it was in trying to steer Angus Fraser down to third man that a frustrated Tendulkar was superbly caught at slip. Rathore had fallen lbw to James Hewitt in the second over.

Navjot Sidhu and Mohammed Azharuddin then dug in, but were under heavy restraint. It was not until the 12th over that Azharuddin straight-drove Hewitt for the first boundary of the innings.

The pair added exactly 100 and then Sidhu ventured to assault Paul Weekes and holed out at long on.

The Indians picked up momentum against the spinners, but at the cost of wickets. Azharuddin, who made 73 off 103 balls, was bowled slogging at Phil Tufnell.

Sanjay Manjrekar was delightfully fluent in making 38, off 34 balls, before Tufnell deceived him in flight and induced a driven catch to short extra cover.

Ajay Jadeja picked up three boundaries in two overs, but also succumbed to Tufnell, going down the wicket to drive.

Having added 136 in the last 20 overs, India's batting had stood the test. But the limitations to their bowling were often exposed and Middlesex looked more probable winners until Mike Gatting, who made 24 off 26 balls, and John Carr were dismissed in close succession, reducing Middlesex to 150 for three, with 14 overs left.

India's opening bowlers, Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad, demanded respect, but then Weekes, who made 81 off 126 balls, and Mark Ramprakash put on 98 for the first wicket from 29 overs.

The match was rapidly slipping away from the Indians when Anil Kumble was recalled and he accounted for Gatting.

Carr was stumped off Tendulkar, leaving Middlesex to get 83 off 11 overs. It rained shortly afterwards and the revised target re- quired them to get 58 off 33 balls with the Indians not having to use their lacklustre support bowlers any further.

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