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News

Indians cruise to five-wicket win against Nicky Oppenheimer XI

India tucked the first win of their South African tour into their kit coffins when they beat the Nicky Oppenheimer XI by five wickets in a gentle stroll at Randjesfontein on Monday.The Indians moved comfortably to victory after the home team had

Peter Robinson
22-Jul-2009
India tucked the first win of their South African tour into their kit coffins when they beat the Nicky Oppenheimer XI by five wickets in a gentle stroll at Randjesfontein on Monday.
The Indians moved comfortably to victory after the home team had declared at 244 for three with the winning margin slightly misleading. Two of the Indian batsmen retired in a match in which the bat unquestionably held sway over the ball.and, if nothing else, Sachin Tendulkar's form suggested he is well over the foot injury that sidelined him recently.
It was, said Sourav Ganguly, "a lovely ground, a lovely wicket, a nice relaxed way to start the tour".
Ganguly was reluctant to read too much into what was, effectively, a practice outing, but coach John Wright said the two big pluses for the Indians were the bowling of Anil Kumble - "He looked good, he was pleased with the way he bowled" - and the batting of Tendulkar - "He looked good, too. It's very much a confidence thing".
The NFO innings, which demonstrated the depth of young talent available to South Africa, was built around two century partnerships and a gem of a hundred from Jacques Rudolph, the 20-year-old Northerns opener who is tipped by many for higher honours.
Rudolph and Loots Bosman put on exactly 100 for the first wicket after the home team batted first by mutual agreement between the captains. Bosman was the aggressor, spraying four sixes and four fours around the picturesque ground owned by the Oppenheimer family.
Bosman carved out 62 off 77 balls before he tried to cut Anil Kumble and chopped it on at 100 for one. Rudolph, meanwhile, once again emphasised that among his considerable talents is the ability to pace an innings and in harness with Graeme Smith 117 was put on for the second wicket.
In the process Rudolph moved to his hundred, a landmark he celebrated by heaving Kumble over mid-wicket for a huge six before holing out to mid on in the same over for 109. Smith went on to record the third half-century of the innings, reaching 54 before he was run out.
The declaration came after a first session that lasted 187 minutes and 52 overs and was followed by a second session during which just 21 overs were bowled, the players coming back in for tea as the lunchtime crockery was still being gathered up.
India managed 109 for two in this period, Tendulkar crunching 45 off 36 balls before falling leg before in Nantie Hayward's first over, a decision which disappointed the crowd as much as it pleased Hayward.
Sourav Ganguly compiled a more measured 34 before holing out to midwicket off the left-arm wrist spinner Goolam Bodi while SS Das breezed his way to 59 before retiring to let someone else have a go.
As was the case in the NFO innings, the bowling lacked bite (with the possible exception of Hayward who might yet force his way back into the South African Test side this summer). The Indians, then, were seldom under any pressure against NFO part-timers and Dale Benkenstain and Rahul Dravid also retired himself out for 48.
Virender Sehwag was the last wicket to fall, run out for 44, before Reetinder Singh Sodhi and Deep Dasgupta saw India home.