PONTING MAKES IT TWO TONS AS GAME LIMPS TO A DRAW
The session between lunch and tea proved to be a bit of a pointless exercise for everyone but the Australian batsmen out in the middle. Skipper Steve Waugh abandoned all plans of declaring and used the day for net practice out in the middle. While the captain himself did not come out to bat, there was a lot of quality strokemaking on offer. Mark Waugh, returning after tea with 164 to his name did not add a run to his total before being dismissed. However, despite the loss of Mark Waugh, the Australians managed a mammoth 461/7 when stumps were drawn. This gave them an absurd lead of 691 when the game ended in a tame draw.
Ricky Ponting, settled in well, drove hard through the off side on more than one occasion, and played square of the wicket with consummate ease. Adding to his first innings 102, Ponting helped himself to another century – 102 not out this time, off 113 balls with eleven hits to the fence. Although a century is always special, the circumstances in which this one was scored must take some gloss off the effort.
At the other end, Michael Kasprowicz improved on his average against India. With nothing to play for, the Board President’s XI side were visibly uninspired in the field. The captain was not on the field and Vijay Dahiya assumed that role in his stead. Part time bowlers got a go at the batsman and did not meet with much success.
Ironically, Narendra Hirwani, dropped for the second Test, scalped the most wickets, albeit giving away a heap of runs in the process. Hirwani’s figures of 38-3-168-5 showed that the leggie was both willing to bowl long spells and that he would stick to his task even under fire.
All in all, the day was a disappointing one spectators. With no competitive cricket being played, it was nothing more than a day of practice out in the middle.
WAUGH DAZZLES AS GAME DRIFTS AIMLESSLY
Sourav Ganguly has given the strongest possible indication that Sarandeep Singh is a certainty to play in the second Test between India and Australia at Kolkata. The Punjab offspinner was not given a single over till tea on the final day. Instead, Narendra Hirwani was asked to bowl a marathon spell, operating almost non stop from one end. While this helped Hirwani scalped his fourth wicket of the innings – all the wickets that fell, it also meant that Mark Waugh got a good look at the leg spinner. Mark Waugh’s score at tea, 164 suggests that he certainly wasn’t in any trouble. Ricky Ponting (37 not out) had joined Mark Waugh and the two took Australia to 345/4 at tea.
The Ponting-Mark Waugh partnership for the fifth wicket is unbeaten on 113 so far. Of that partnership, Ponting has contributed just 37. Such was the dominance of Mark Waugh. With spinners operating from both ends, Mark Waugh had plenty of opportunity to use his feet. Coming down the wicket at will to left arm spinner Sridharan Sriram and Hirwani, Mark Waugh got to the pitch of the ball with ease. Once he was to the pitch of the ball, the elegant New South Wales, Essex and Australia batsman had too many optins. When he felt like it Waugh went over mid on. If that didn’t catch his fancy he sent the ball sailing high, wide and handsome, back over the bowler’s head.
Of his 164 not out, Mark Waugh made 110 runs in boundaries – 17 fours and 7 huge sixes. While Andrew Symonds’ mark of 18 sixes in a first class innings is still along way off, anything is possible. With the game all but dead, Waugh can go all out and attack. The Aussie lead – of purely academic interest – was a massive 575.
MARK WAUGH MAKES HALF CENTURY AS AUSSIES EXTEND LEAD
Narendra Hirwani was told by the selectors yesterday that he was not part of squad for the second Test. The Central Zone leggie did not lose hope on the last day, and snapped up two quick wickets to take his tally to three thus far in the second innings. Resuming on 53/1 on the final day, the Australians got to 154/3 at lunch.
The decision to continue batting bore little significance as the Auustralians were clearly not going for a win. Nothing wrong with that approach, given that it would have been very difficult to bowl out the Board President’s XI side in three sessions on this wicket. Even with the attack the Australians had at their disposal, they would be toiling in vain.
On the batting front however, there was a lot to be gained for the visitors. Although he ahs looked aggressive and confident when at the crease, Michael Slater has not spent enough time at the wicket to gain the required level of comfort and confidence. Just seven runs were added to the total before Slater (26 runs, 51balls 5 fours) threw his wicket away once more. Driving hard at a ball that was just short of a length the New South Wales opener found Dinesh Mongia at covers.
Justin Langer, ended the second day without opening his score and settled down to playing a long innings. Not attempting anything too flashy Langer seemed content biding his time. Hirwani however had different plans for the southpaw. Enticing Langer down the track with a well tossed up delivery, the legspinner managed to draw the edge of the bat. The ball went off the pad to silly mid off and the Hirwani-Mongia combination had struck again. Langer made 15.
Mark Waugh was then joined by Damien Martyn and the two played as if it were the first day of a five day game. Stroking the ball into the gaps at will, both Martyn and Waugh had a good look at the bowling before cutting loose. While Martyn seemed a bit circumspect, Waugh flowered. The last over before lunch saw him go after Sridharan Sriram with elegance. After coming down the wicket to the second ball of the over and lofting the ball over long on for a one bounce boundary, Waugh repeated the feat in the fourth ball of the over. Only the second time Waugh hit it straighter and harder – all the way for six. That brought up the half century for Mark Waugh and took the Australians to 154/3 at lunch. Matryn (27 not out) and Mark Waugh (50 not out) had stretched the Australian lead to a massive 384.
AUSTRALIA ON TOP AT THE END OF SECOND DAY
A spectacular collapse by the Board President’s XI side saw the hosts succumb to 221 all out in 66.4 overs. Apart from a gem of an innings by Dinesh Mongia (66 runs, 107 balls, 9 fours, 3 sixes) there was nothing of note in the Board President’s XI innings. Hrishikesh Kanitkar batting at number seven made just 2 even as Rakesh Patel (13), Surendra Singh (7) and Sarandeep Singh (0) were dismissed cheaply. Board President’s XI were 221 all out and well short of the follow on mark.
However, Australia being the thorough professionals they are, did not enforce the follow on. Opting to gain some more batting practice in Indian conditions, Steve Waugh sent out Matthew Hayden and Michael Slater to bat. The righthanded New South Welshman was his usual flashy self, having a go at everything that was on offer. His counterpart Hayden was a bit more circumspect, but not luckier by any measure.
After seeing off the mediumpacers Hayden flashed hard at a well flighted delivery out side the off stump from Narendra Hirwani. The ball gripped the wicket and stopped a bit on the southpaw. The bat made contact with the ground and appeared to miss the bat. A loud shout for caught behind ensued and the umpire agreed with the fielders. Hayden (26) was the only casualty of the day for the Aussies.
When stumps were drawn Slater had 24 to his name and Justin Langer was yet to open his account. Australia managed 53/1 off 13 overs.
MONGIA DAZZLES AS BP XI REACH 187/5
Resuming on 50/1 after lunch the Board President’s XI side lost two quick wickets. Mohammed Kaif who batted well for a compact 33 fell soon after lunch to the guiles of Colin Miller. The fall of Kaif’s wicket brought the Indian captain – Sourav Ganguly – to the crease. Starting nervously, Ganguly was tied down well by the mediumpace of Michael Kasprowicz. Despite bowling a large number of no balls, Kaprowicz managed to peg away just short of a length and trouble the Indian captain.
While the Indian captain was in a spot of bother things got worse as his partner, Sridharan Sriram (27 runs, 78 balls, 3 fours), chased a quick ball outside the off stump from Kasprowicz and nicked the ball through to the keeper. Bradley Haddin had his first catch of the tour and Board President’s XI were 71/3.
After being tied down for a spell Ganguly flashed hard on more than one occasion. Fortunately for the skipper every time he made a mistake, the ball fell short of the slip cordon. Having weathered the early storm Ganguly became his fluent self when the spinners came on. Coming down the wicket and lofting the ball over the infield with characteristic ease Ganguly moved quickly to 41. The flow of runs caused a rush of blood and in a moment Ganguly had undone all the good work from earlier. Coming down the track to Mark Waugh the Board President’s XI and India skipper played all over a straight ball and saw his off stump knocked over. Ganguly’s 41 came off 81 balls.
Dinesh Mongia in the meantime had got a good measure of the wicket, the bowling and the conditions. When the spinners gave the ball a bit of air Mongia was quick to come down the wicket and play inside out through the off side. When Miller dropped the ball short, Mongia was on the back foot in a flash. The pull he played over midwicket for six was as good a shot as any seen in the game thus far.
Jacob Martin (10) joined the list of batsmen who missed out when he flicked a Mark Waugh full toss straight to Ricky Ponting at mid wicket. Hrishikesh Kanitkar joined Mongia (59 not out) and Board President’s XI were 187/5 at tea.
BP XI MAKE SLOW PROGRESS AGAINST DISCIPLINED BOWLING
Up against a mammoth score of 451, the Board President’s XI skipper, Sourav Ganguly, decided to open the innings with the pairing of Sridharan Sriram and Vijay Dahiya. Although Dahiya may not have the tightest of techniques, he opens the innings for Delhi, his state side, and has met with reasonable success. Against the bowling of Michael Kasprowicz and Damien Fleming however, the stumper did not last long. Trapped plumb in front by a ball from Fleming that held its line, Dahiya was back in the pavilion before he could trouble the scorers.
With no runs on the board and the first wicket down in just the fifth ball of the innings the Board President’s XI got off to the worst possible start. Mohammed Kaif at number three came out to the wicket much earlier than he would have either expected or liked. Along with Sriram, Kaif went about the task of accumulating runs in a methodical manner. Playing with a straight bat, Kaif took no risks against the frontline bowlers.
When Damien Martyn and Colin Miller came into the attack, the pressure lifted ever so slightly. Even at that stage there was little freedom to play strokes for the Board President’s XI side. Bowling wicket to wicket, with minimal experimentation Miller (4-2-6-0) and Martyn (4-1-11-0) held the hosts back to 50/1 in 20 overs. At lunch on the second day Sriram (16) and Kaif (29) were holding fort for Board President's XI.
AUSTRALIA AMASS 451 BEFORE BEING DISMISSED
The Australians began their day on 413/8 and managed to add a valuable 38 runs for the last two wickets. Pushing the score to 451 the Australians set the Board President’s a mammoth target. The first figure the Board President’s XI will be looking to overhaul is the 301 – the follow on mark.
On the morning of the second day, Michael Kasprowicz (35 runs, 54 balls, 6 fours) and Damien Fleming (29 runs, 42 balls, 5 fours) put on 30 runs for the 9th wicket before holing out to the spinners.
Colin Miller coming in at number eleven presented Sarandeep Singh with his final wicket – the Punjab offspinner ended with figures of 5/114.
The Board President’s XI team now have their task cut out for them. After they put on an uninspired display in the field the home side will have to come up with a spirited batting performance to avoid defeat.
AUSTRALIA AMASS BIG TOTAL
Sourav Ganguly is getting used to suffering at the hands of Steve Waugh. After the pasting India received in the first Test, Ganguly should have had some idea about the prowess of the Australians. On the first day of the three day game against the Board President’s XI there was no doubt about who held all the trumps. Ending the day on a very useful 413/8 off 90 overs, the Australians showed how a positive approach to batting is vital – even in a game of longer duration.
Steve Waugh (109 runs, 165 balls, 17 fours, 4 sixes) and Ricky Ponting (102 runs, 138 balls, 14 fours, 1 six) put together 171 runs for the fifth wicket and batted Australia into a position of strength. Although the Australians did not declare their innings closed, it is likely that they will do so overnight.
Apart from the two centurions, Bradley Haddin (24 runs, 23 balls, 4 fours) and Michael Kasprowicz (27 not out, 35 balls, 6 fours) gave the bowling a thump towards the end, speeding up proceedings further.
At the receiving end of this onslaught were a hapless set of Board President’s XI bowlers. Surendra Singh, who went wicketless and conceded 48 runs in 16 overs returned the best figures – in terms of economy. Narendra Hirwani was punished by all the batsmen and ended up with 2/96 off his 18 overs. As in the earlier warm up game, it was the off spinner who scalped the most wickets. With 4/103 off 23 overs, Sarandeep Singh will be happy with his effort.
WAUGH NEARS YET ANOTHER CENTURY
The session between lunch and tea can be a bit of a dull affair with batsmen well set and the pitch not doing much. Fortunately for viewers at the ground and television alike, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting got stuck into the Board President’s XI bowling and scored at a fast clip. Returning from a well deserved lunch at 112/3, the visitors lost one more wicket and added 161 runs in the second session. Although the idea was for Ganguly to get match practice, it was his counterpart Steve Waugh who made himself at home.
Striking the ball cleanly to all parts of the ground, Waugh went after the spinners. Coming down the track and driving inside out, Steve Waugh spread the field with ease. When the ball was on the stumps Steve Waugh went down on one knee at will and hoicked the ball over the midwicket region. At tea, Steve Waugh was on 87 (124 balls, 13 fours, 4 sixes). Unfortunately for the visitors the other Waugh – Mark fell to a superb delivery from leggie Narendra Hirwani in the 37th over. Attempting to cut a googly, Mark Waugh found himself trapped plumb in front as he played all over the ball. Mark Waugh’s well made 61 runs came off 79 balls and included 9 fours and 1 six.
Ricky Ponting joined his skipper out in the middle and the story was no different for the Board President’s XI side. Ganguly, short of imaginative ideas, bowled Sridharan Sriram for a long spell. What’s more, Ganguly had the left arm spinner operating from over the wicket to the right handers. With six men on the leg side, plenty of gaps opened up in the off side and both Steve Waugh and Ponting exploited this to good effect. At tea, Ponting was unbeaten on 45 and Australia were 273/4.
AUSTRALIA COAST TO 112/3
The Australians have settled into a winning way that will be difficult to either break or emulate. The visitors took to the Board President’s XI bowling attack early on and moved from strength to strength. On winning the toss Steve Waugh had little doubt in electing to bat first. Attempting to get a bit more practice out in the middle in Indian conditions, Waugh sent Matthew Hayden and Michael Slater out to the middle.
For the Board President’s XI side, Ganguly chose to open the bowling with mediumpacers Rakesh Patel and Surendra Singh. Left arm mediumpacer Surendra Singh was quick, keeping the ball well up on a wicket that had little in it for the quick bowlers. By keeping one end tight Surendra Singh gave Patel a chance to experiment a bit. Slater drove well on the up one more than one occasion. Playing characteristic flowing drives Slater raced to 19 off just 15 balls. Attempting to drive the next ball through the covers, Slater found the waiting hands of Jacob Martin. Slater’s 16 ball essay included four boundaries.
Not much later, one drop batsman Justin Langer played down the wrong line to a straight ball from Patel and was trapped plumb in front. Patel had two wickets and Australia were 35/2.
Mark Waugh joined Hayden at the wicket and the two settled down well against the pacemen. Nudging the ball into the gaps with ease, Mark Waugh got his eye in well before the spinners were introduced.
As expected, Ganguly enforced a double change, bringing on off spinner Sharandeep Singh and leg spinner Narendra Hirwani. The change worked well for the skipper, with Hayden (31 runs, 72 balls, 2 fours, 1 six) edging a Sharandeep Singh offspinner onto his pad and to the fielder close to the bat.
Hayden’s departure brought the Waugh brothers together out in the middle. The pair saw Australia through to lunch at 112/3. Mark Waugh had 33 to his name while the Australian captain was unbeaten on 10.
AUSTRALIA ELECT TO BAT FIRST
As expected, the Australians have snubbed the Indian captain by opting to rest their frontline fast bowlers. Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne have been rested, while the members on the bench – Damien Martyn, Colin Miller and Michael Kasprowicz get a chance to play. Steve Waugh and the Australian think tank have denied Ganguly match practice of the highest order. In doing so the Australians have nullified Ganguly’s aim of getting match practice.
On winning the toss, Australia decided to bat first.
Australians: Steve Waugh (capt), Michael Slater, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer, Damien Martyn, Mark Waugh, Justin Langer, Colin Miller, Damien Fleming, Michael Kasprowicz, Brad Haddin. 12th man: Glenn McGrath
Board President's XI: Sourav Ganguly (capt), Vijay Dahiya, Mohammed Kaif, Jacob Martin, Dinesh Mongia, S Sriram, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Narendra Hirwani, Rakesh Patel, Surendra Singh, Sharandeep Singh 12th man: Vinayak Mane,
Umpires: Sanjeev Rao (Indore), Subroto Banerjee (Kolkata).