October 4, 2002

Dinesh Mongia century boosts Board President's XI

Staff Reporter

Considering that the Indian Board President's XI lost their first two wickets in 8.1 overs, captain Mohammad Kaif will not be too displeased with the final total of 275 for eight declared on the first day of the three-day match against the touring West Indians at Bangalore.

Winning the toss, Kaif opted to bat, but he must have had his heart in his mouth as Merv Dillon skittled out first Sanjay Bangar and then Gautam Gambhir. But the fall of the second wicket meant that Kaif himself had to walk out to the middle - which he did, going on to add 91 runs for the third wicket with Hemang Badani.

Badani hit seven fours in his 67 off 129 balls, the knock coming in 200 minutes. The Tamil Nadu southpaw is still looking forward to make his way back into the Indian side, although the recent strong performances by the youngsters in both the Test and one-day teams will make it difficult for him to do so.

One of those very youngsters, skipper Kaif made 40 off 95 balls with three fours, playing solidly with Badani to ensure that the Board President's XI did not suffer any more hiccups after those early ones. Kaif fell with the score on 108, and Dinesh Mongia carried on nicely where Kaif left off, putting on 50 runs for the fourth wicket with Badani.

With Badani being dismissed, bowled by left-arm paceman Pedro Collins, a slew of wickets followed. Parthiv Patel, Murali Kartik and Sarandeep Singh departed within the space of 21 runs, and at 186 for seven, the West Indies had a hold of the match for the second time in the day.

And as before, they lost this one too. Mongia batted steadily with leg-spinner Amit Mishra to add 55 runs for the eighth wicket. Mishra contributed a vital 10, and after he was dismissed, Mongia then batted on with Tinu Yohannan, completing his century off 149 balls with 12 fours and three sixes.

Kaif declared after Mongia reached three figures, and the West Indian openers Chris Gayle and Wavell Hinds had to play out five overs before close. Gayle ended on 14 off 17 balls, while West Indies reached 20 for no loss. But more than the batting, the West Indians will be worried about the fact that their bowling - especially the spin of Carl Hooper and Mahendra Nagamootoo in helpful conditions - made little impact on a cobbled-together domestic side.