January 16, 2001

England under-19 sent for a tail spin by South Zone colts

Another lovely day at the Guru Nanak College Ground in Chennai. Clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine awaited the players and a handful of spectators. For the second day in succession the visiting team let themselves down. If it was their fielding and bowling on day one, it was their dismal batting on day two, Tuesday.

South Zone declared at their overnight score of 275/8, allowing them the opportunity to have a go at the England Under-19 batting first thing in the morning. John Sadler and Nicky Peng were up against the left arm seam bowling of Steve Lazarus and the right arm bowler Lakshmipathy Balaji. They held the innings together for the first 12 overs to take the score to 32. Off the first ball of the 13th over, Peng was bowled as he tried to push at a full-length ball from Balaji.

Sadler was dismissed in the first ball off the 25th over, caught behind by Taher Hussain off the bowling of Shankara Rao for 32. He was at the crease for 104 minutes facing 73 balls and hitting four boundaries. The double spin attack of Rao and Mohd Faiq dried up the scoring to a trickle. The pressure was showing and it was Kadeer Ali who wilted to it, playing a false shot for the ball to balloon back to the bowler, Faiq. Kadeer made just 11 runs in the total of 64/3. England went in for lunch with the score of 83/3 in 40 overs.

Balaji dominated the post-lunch session. The last ball of the first over after lunch saw the last of Gordon Muchall, leg before for 14. Ian Pattison and Mark Wallace tried to steady the innings. Wallace was in such a defensive mood that he missed out on too many scoring opportunities, pushing half volleys for nothing. Pattison was the next to go in the 45th over bowled by Balaji for 19.

At 100/5, in walked the tall Chris Tremlett. He and Wallace put on 57 runs for the sixth wicket in 19.2 overs. Tremlett had some anxious moments against the bowling of Balaji, as he couldn't deal with the low bounce of the pitch. He was beaten for the lack of bounce and rapped on the pad twice. He quickly made changes to his technique adapting to the situation well by reducing his flamboyant high back lift. He played the shots behind square with finesse, almost making batting look so easy.

Wallace's misery at the crease came to an end off the last ball of the 64th over, his stumps shattered by Balaji. He made 25 runs off 60 balls in his 99-minute stay at the crease. England went to the tea break at 163/6 in 67 overs with Tremlett looking good with 34 runs to his name.

The post tea session was a complete disaster for the English boys. The pitch, which is keeping low, was not the kind of track where players like Ferley with a high back-lift would survive. In the second over after tea, he was trapped leg before by Faiq for a duck. In the 73rd over, Kyle Hogg too returned to the pavilion without scoring a run, caught by Arjun Yadav off the bowling of Faiq.

Monty Panesar has no claims of being a good batsman. He somehow survived for six balls and was bowled by a full-length ball from Balaji for a duck, the third in the row of the innings. Tremlett, who had given a very good account of himself with some stylish batting and a no-nonsense approach, was bowled around his legs for 49 to leave the English side all out for 183 in 76.4 overs. Tremlett struck four boundaries off the 120 balls he faced. For South Zone, Balaji and Faiq shared the bowling honours with the figures of 22-4-54-4 and 22.4-8-40-4 respectively.

Ahead by 92 runs on the first innings, South Zone started their second innings in style. TS Suman who played a robust 42 in double quick time in the first innings was at his usual best again. He smashed Kyle Hogg out of the bowling hitting him through mid-wicket and cover for fours. He on-drove Tremlett powerfully to the boundary, lofted Malik over his head and smashed Panesar over mid-on for boundaries.

Suman lost his opening partner Shashank Nag to the fifth ball of Panesar's first over, caught by Kadeer Ali for a duck. At the fall of Nag's wicket, play was called off for the day. South Zone were sitting pretty with 43/1 in 10.5 overs with Suman unbeaten on 39 off just 33 balls that includes seven glorious strikes to the boundary.

In a separate development, it was announced in Mumbai today that there is a change in the last part of the England Under-19 team's itinerary. As per the original schedule, England were to play their first, second and third one-dayers at Rajkot (4th February), Baroda (6th February) and Ahmedabad (8th February) respectively. It was announced that the venues for the first and third one-dayers have been interchanged. The dates remain unchanged.