Disappointing starts for Ganguly and Harbhajan
Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh had disappointing starts to their county season, with both turning in tepid performances. Playing for Glamorgan at Swansea, Ganguly was bowled by Jason Lewry for a third-ball duck in the first innings against Sussex. Forced to follow on, Glamorgan were saved the blushes by their other overseas player, Matthew Elliott of Australia. Elliott followed his 85 in the first innings with a commanding 162 off just 171 balls in the second. Ganguly, batting at No. 5, came in when a draw was already assured, and made an unbeaten 15, his first runs of the season.
Meanwhile, Harbhajan managed a match haul of 3 for 117 against Warwickshire at Whitgift School in Croydon, but made more news after being no-balled for throwing one in frustration.The incident happened when Harbhajan, struggling for wickets on the last day as Surrey tried desperately for a win, threw one that bounced halfway down the pitch before sailing over the wicketkeeper, and, quite bizarrely, over the boundary. Peter Willey, one of the umpires for the game, consulted with his partner before signalling six no-balls.
The ECB later confirmed that Harbhajan was indeed called for throwing, but also clarified that the matter would not be investigated further. "I can confirm that Harbhajan was no-balled by Peter WIlley, the square-leg umpire, for deliberately throwing the ball, an action by the bowler that was probably due to frustration," Alan Fordham, ECB's cricket operations manager, said. "It should be regarded as a one-off incident and there will be no investigation, either by the ECB or by anyone else."
The match itself was a draw as Surrey failed to force the issue. Harbhajan took 2 for 57 in Warwickshire's first innings, but was overshadowed by Pakistan's Mohammad Akram, whose 5 for 51 ensured Surrey a commanding first-innings lead of 131. Surrey then set Warwickshire a fourth-innings target of 442, and needed to take nine wickets on the last day to force a win. However, they took just two, as Warwickshire comfortably batted out the final day to save the game. Harbhajan bowled 26 overs in the second innings, more than any other Surrey bowler, but only managed 1 for 60.
The third Indian in action in the latest round of matches in the county season was Dinesh Mongia, for Leicestershire. Mongia made 26 in Leicestershire's only innings against Somerset at Oakham School Ground. Somerset were forced to follow on, but batted out the last day to draw the game.