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News Letter
Fri Jul 5 2002
Issue No: 75

Rain has the final say at Chester-Le Street

Rain might have prevented the England-India one-dayer at the quaintly named Chester-Le Street from running its full course, but the contest still ended up serving up a veritable batting feast for the connoisseurs. Sourav Ganguly, after opting to bat in India's 500th one-day international, had the pleasure of seeing his team rack up their highest one-day score against England despite an indifferent start. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid were the men who led the Indian fight back after their team had been reduced to 52-3 in the 11th over. Tendulkar did not have the smoothest of starts but once he went past his 50, he was a transformed man. Attacking the bowling with a verve that was fascinating to behold, the little master ended up with 105 not out off just 108 balls. His first ODI ton against England and meaty contributions from Rahul Dravid (82) and Yuvraj Singh (40* from 19 balls) powered India to a potentially match-winning 285 for 4. But persistent drizzle in the 13th over of England's innings poured cold water on their hopes.

Yet another milestone for Stewart

Alec Stewart has come a long way since he made his international debut in a one-dayer at Delhi more than 12 years ago. The man whom Nasser Hussain termed the most organised player he has met has in a dazzling career gone on to become the most capped English Test player, an honour he currently shares with Graham Gooch. To add to that distinction, he went on to become the first English player to appear in 150 one-day internationals during the NatWest series encounter against India on Thursday.

Fit as a fiddle and hungry for success even now, Stewart confessed that he is continuing to work at improving his game. "I'm 39 but I'm still learning," he said. To quote but an instance he explained how he discussed his new role down the batting order with England coach Duncan Fletcher.

"I had a chat with Duncan on the day before the game (the England-Sri Lanka encounter at Headingley which England won) and he gave me a few tips about batting down the order when the ball is reverse swinging - where to hit the ball and how to hit the ball. He spoke to me about that on Monday and I practiced hard and had two net sessions with Duncan standing behind talking me through certain things and telling me to work on certain things and that helped my innings." Stewart made an unbeaten 38 off 31 balls while guiding his side to a three-wicket win over the Sri Lankans in that match. On Thursday, his batting skills were not called upon but his work behind the stumps by itself offered a study in commitment that youngsters the world over would do well to imbibe.

ECB demands an explanation

Despite the glut of runs and the sheer excitement that the Headingley one-dayer provided, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are far from happy with the host county of Yorkshire. The poor spectator turnout for the England-Sri Lanka match played on Tuesday - only 9,000 spectators turned up in a stadium capable of seating 15,000 - is what led to this turn of events. The ECB's director of corporate affairs, John Read, told The Guardian newspaper: "We're very disappointed by the crowd in Leeds. Tim Lamb (the chief executive) wrote to Yorkshire (on Wednesday) seeking a full explanation. The reasons for it will be fully discussed by the ECB's management board. It is important to us that all our venues sell out or get as close to that position as possible. Apart from the revenue aspect, the players prefer to play in front of full houses - and a big crowd makes for a much better spectator experience."

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Centuries from Sourav Ganguly (136) and Sachin Tendulkar (177) saw India amass 521 runs in their first innings on the second day of a must-win third Test against England in England in 1996. When stumps were drawn, Mike Atherton's Englishmen had reached 32-0 in reply. Atherton went on to make 160 and Nasser Hussain 107 as the match was eventually drawn, thereby sealing the home side's 1-0 Test series win over the Indians.

The dazzling batting display by the Indians at Chester-Le Street on Thursday proved yet again that they are the team to beat in this tri-series. Facing them on Saturday would be Sanath Jayasuriya's Sri Lankans, still seeking their first win in the competition. Can the men from the Emerald Isles summon the wherewithal to stop the Indian juggernaut? Log on to and find out.

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“Initially I was not striking the ball very well. But I took more chances after reaching 50, hitting the ball harder, and I thought I played some good shots.” Sachin Tendulkar on his hundred.

"Every England selection committee in the last 10 years has started with the question of what to do with him - to be the keeper-bat or opening bat? A team without him looks so odd."Nasser Hussain on Alec Stewart.

"I am beginning to like the look of this Indian team. They seem to have enough resilience and depth, batting-wise. Rahul Dravid, in particular, has justified the think-tank's decision to play him as a 'keeper-batsman." Sudhir Sharma.

Sachin Tendulkar's unbeaten 105 was the first ODI hundred by an Indian against England in England.

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