June 25, 2003

Gambhir charms India to victory

Wisden CricInfo staff

India A 224 for 2 (Gambhir 128*) beat British Universities 221 for 9 (White 52, Mishra 4-41) by eight wickets

Gautam Gambhir scored a charming 128 not out to make light work of a spirited British Universities side, as India A launched their tour of England with an eight-wicket win at Durham.

Set a competitive, but hardly taxing, 222 to win, India lost Satyajit Parab early in their innings, during a slippery opening spell from Yorkshire's David Wigley. But Gambhir was joined by Rohan Gavaskar, son of Sunil, who played the anchor role in a 146-run partnership for the second wicket.

Gavaskar eventually became Wigley's second wicket of the innings - caught behind by Ismail Dawood for 41 (156 for 2) - but Gambhir by this stage was flying. He reached his century off 96 balls, and with his run-hungry captain Hemang Badani for company, India romped home to their target with more than seven overs to spare.

The Universities had made a composed start to the match, as Robert White and John Francis saw off the new ball in a 67-run partnership for the second wicket. But the introduction of the legspin of Amit Mishra changed the complexion of the innings. Four wickets fell for 42 runs, all to Mishra, whose action has drawn comparisons with Shane Warne. Though Robert Ferley counterattacked with a run-a-ball 35 not out, the damage had been irreparable.