February 2, 2001

Narrow win for India Under-19s

England colts can take some pride even in defeat in their first one day match against India Under-19 at Hyderabad on Friday. Defending a modest score of 127, the English boys bowled and fielded well, putting pressure on a complacent Indian side. The fielding and catching of this England side has gone up by leaps and bounds. They gave an impressive show, with Pratt taking an amazing catch in the gully to get rid of the dangerous looking Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan.

India were almost made to pay dearly for not forcing the issue and letting England add 23 runs for the last wicket. Ajay Ratra made things look better with a match-winning knock of 22 not out. And when the Indian three-wicket victory arrived belatedly, Amit Mishra was with Ratra on two.

Chasing a modest English total, India was made to struggle by a side living on high adrenalin. The pitch offered nothing to the English seamers with Robert Ferley not even required to turn his arm over.

Gautam Gambhir and Vinayak Mane gave India a blazing start. Gambhir made a quickfire 18 off just 11 balls. He struck four boundaries in the first two overs. Mane played a powerful hook shot off the bowling of Justin Bishop in the third over, for a huge six.

Tremlett, who had Gambhir in some trouble outside the off stump in his first over, reaped success with the first ball of his second over. Gambhir always fancies chasing the ball going outside the off. He scores runs quickly when it hits the middle of his bat but in the process, he always gives the bowler the hope of an outside edge. Tremlett made Gambhir play a stroke outside the off stump and Wallace, falling to his left neatly took the catch. Gambhir made 18 runs off 11 balls and hit four boundaries.

Justin Bishop bowled Manvinder Bisla for six to reduce India Under-19s to 33/2 in the seventh over. Mane looked to be in tremendous touch as he clipped one through square leg for four. Wallace made no mistake as Mane offered a catch off the bowling of Tremlett. Mane made 12 runs off 12 balls with one six and a four. Arjun Yadav made 12 runs off 12 balls including two boundaries and was the next batsman to get out. He was brilliantly caught at gully by Nicky Peng off the bowling of McGarry in the 12th over. India colts were struggling at 61/4 at that stage.

Eight runs later, in the 15th over, Ian Pattison had Alind Naidu caught behind for 17. Maninder Singh joined his captain Ratra in the middle and steadied the innings with some positive batting. Singh made 17 runs off just 16 balls, before falling lbw to McGarry. At the fall of Singh's wicket in the second ball of the 20th over, India colts were 93/6. The home team lost their seventh wicket in the 24th over. Vidyut who came out to bat at the fall of Singh, blazed away to 15 off just 14 balls. Vidyut then fell to Pratt's catch at gully off the bowling of Tremlett. India were 115/7 at that stage still requiring 13 runs to win.

Ratra took India past the England colts total with a well timed stroke to the square-leg fence. He made an unbeaten 22 runs off 44 balls, including four boundaries. Amit Mishra remained unbeaten on two. Ratra held the batting together and saw India through. Tremlett was the pick of the bowling with the figures of 7-1-31-3.

Earlier, opting to bat, England made a shaky start. John Sadler was the first batsman to be dismissed in the third over of the day. Nitin Aggarwal bowled him for one, when he tried to pull a good length delivery. Nicky Peng and Ian Bell helped themselves to some easy boundaries as Aggarwal erred in line and length.

Peng survived a very confident appeal for a caught behind off the bowling of Trivedi in the fifth over. He carried his good form with some great shots, twice cover-driving Aggarwal into the cover fence in the tenth over. Maninder Singh came into bowl in the 12th over, replacing Aggarwal. The first ball was pitched short and pulled over square leg for a four by Bell. Maninder over-pitched the fifth and was duly dispatched over cover for another boundary.

England colts reached fifty in the 13th over, when Peng flicked Trivedi over square leg for a four. Vidyut immediately replaced Singh who went for 11 runs in his first over. Both batsmen looked comfortable, using their feet to tackle Vidyut's left-arm orthodox spin. The fifth ball of the over proved to be fatal for the English hopes of making a huge score, Bell went for a lap-sweep and the topedge was taken by Ratra behind the stumps. Bell made 27 runs off 35 balls striking four boundaries. Bell and Peng added 56 runs for the second wicket.

Trivedi bowled an impressive first spell of 7-2-17-0. Local lad Arjun Yadav replaced him at the far end. The off-spinner did not disappoint as he dismissed Gary Pratt for just two runs, leaving England Under-19s at 62/3. Peng drove one straight back to Vidyut in the 16th over, without any addition to the score. Peng made 28 runs off 44 balls and struck five boundaries.

Yadav found himself with the prospect of a hat-trick in his very first match for India juniors. Having dismissed Pratt caught by Mane in the slips off the last ball of his first over, he dismissed the new batsman Muchall for a duck with the first ball of his second over, Mane again taking a good reflex catch in the slips. The English boys were reduced to 63/5 in 17 overs.

Mark Wallace and Chris Tremlett were left with the task of reviving the falling English innings. The 26th over brought more misery to the English camp. Wallace took off for a non-existent single and was sent back by Tremlett. Wallace could not beat Gambhir's throw to the wicket-keeper. England Under-19s were 78/6 at Wallace's fall.

Maninder Singh was brought back into the attack and claimed the wicket of Tremlett, caught behind by Ratra for six runs. This made England 88 for 7, compounding their misery. Ian Pattison was the eighth man to be dismissed, lbw to Maninder Singh for three. Justin Bishop walked in next with the score reading 95/8. Instead of going for the kill, Ratra persisted with Amit Mishra's leg spin from the pavilion end. Mishra bowled a flat line and length and never looked like getting a wicket in his spell of 7-2-19-0.

Maninder's second spell read 4-2-2-2. Yadav, who replaced Maninder, struck immediately, removing Bishop caught behind for one. England were 104/9 in 36.4 overs. Yadav bowled brilliantly to finish with 10-2-18-3. Once Yadav completed his spell, Mishra was brought back into the attack for his eighth over from the far end. The fast bowlers were left to languish on the boundary.

McGarry struck Vidyut through the covers for four in the 44th over, a rare boundary after 101 balls in the faltering innings. McGarry seemed to enjoy his batting as he lofted Vidyut over mid on for a four in the 46th, prompting Ratra to station a mid-wicket and a long on.

Ferley patted back a return catch to Vidyut off the last ball of the 46th over. His valuable innings of 27 came off 62 balls with one boundary. McGarry remained unbeaten on 12. Vidyut finished with figures of 10-0-26-3.

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