Matches (12)
BAN v NZ (1)
ENG v IRE (1)
Marsh Cup (1)
County DIV1 (5)
County DIV2 (4)

Victorious India colts with not much to cheer

The fourth and final day of the first 'Test' match between India Under-19s and the England Under-19s at Mumbai decided the fate of the Test series which India went on to win 1-0

Santhosh S
The fourth and final day of the first 'Test' match between India Under-19s and the England Under-19s at Mumbai decided the fate of the Test series which India went on to win 1-0. The Indian spinners had the English feet tied up with their spin magic. The England colts were never anywhere near the standards one expects at this level, for they really did not have the match-winning spinners to give the home team a fright.
The England colts were set a victory target of 350 runs and were cruising at 160/1. A devastating spell of spin bowling by Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan (18.3-15-6-7) turned the game in India's favour. India bowled out England for 183, the last nine wickets falling for just 23 runs in 40.4 overs. Vidyut finished with the figures of 34.3-20-38-8, taking his wicket tally for the match to 12/122.
The English juniors never recovered from that defeat at Mumbai, as the India colts kept the upper hand all through the series. Vidyut finished with an aggregate of 17 wickets at 23.17 runs apiece, easily the best for both sides.
The second and third `Tests' ended up without producing a result. India was in trouble in the second `Test' at Chennai after being forced to follow on. The Indian batting came good to take the match away from the English boys. Opening batsmen Vinayak Mane (201) and Gautam Gambhir (212) put on 391 runs, totally demoralizing the English attack.
Mane was easily the best batsman all through the series, scoring heavily. Mane is a Tendulkar clone from Mumbai, and he tries to play like the great man does. He plays the hook shot just too well as the English boys were to find out. Mane missed out on the century in the first `Test' by just nine runs. In the second innings of the second `Test', he smashed his way to a really powerful double hundred. In the third `Test', Mane again came good, scoring a masterly 135 before being run out. He amassed 461 runs for the series at an enviable average of 92.20
Gambhir is a classy left-handed batsman from Delhi, who relies on quick hand-eye co-ordination, playing the cuts and drives as he pleases to. His obsession to play all the balls bowled to him outside the off stump was to trouble him as the tour progressed. Yet, Gambhir did leave an impression with a blistering batting display against some listless bowling.
Ajay Ratra who led the India colts came up with some brave performances with the bat when required most. Ratra was unfortunate to miss out on a hundred by six runs at Mumbai. His contribution with the bat came handy and he cracked a masterly 141 in the final `Test' at Hyderabad, thwarting all English hopes of defeating India.
The India Under-19s medium pacers Nitin Aggarwal and Sidarth Trivedi bowled with a lot of passion and fire all through the tour. Aggarwal was aggressive with his bowling as well as his demeanours. He is a man who doesn't mind giving a piece of advice to the batsman. Amit Mishra, the leg spinner from Haryana too impressed.
The major headache to the India U19s coach Roger Binny, was the 'catching' of his side. Though they excelled in the ground-fielding department, the Indian lads dropped too many catches and the English boys made them pay. Nicky Peng and Gary Pratt scored hundreds, thanks to all the dropped catches. The series could have been won 3-0 but for the lapse of concentration and the lethargy they showed on the field.
Things were no different in the One-Day series that followed the `Tests'. India U19s won the three match contest 2-1. The series was shifted to Hyderabad and Vijayawada as the earthquake caused extensive damage to Gujarat, which was to host the series.
England tasted their only success on tour in the second match at Vijayawada, where the much-acclaimed Indian batting line-up folded to the spin of Robert Ferley, to lose by 31 runs. The Indian spinners were made to look ordinary by a fast-learning English batting side, who were willing to step out of their crease.
The India colts had to struggle to win by three wickets in a low scoring match at Hyderabad in the first match. On a docile pitch, the English boys were dismissed for 127 by the spin of Vidyut and Arjun Yadav. What should have been a one sided match was made into an exciting game by the India colts, as they threw away their wickets. It was again Ratra who saw India through to victory.
The final One-Day game was also played at Hyderabad. India colts managed to win as Ratra made a blistering late charge to add 45 runs in the last three overs with Trivedi. Vidyut spun out four English wickets to enable India take the One-Day series.
All rounder Maninder Singh from Madhya Pradesh, who played in the first two matches impressed with his swing bowling as well as commitment. There were flashes of brilliance from Manvinder Bisla, who played a gem of an innings (93) at Vijayawada. Alind Naidu who happens to be a Mohd Azharudin clone in the field, did not live up to the expectations.
By and large, the English U19s tour of India was a successful one for the hosts. A narrow series win over weak opponents is not the ideal tonic for the future of Indian cricket. Apart from Mane, Gambhir and to an extent the flat-footed Vidyut, no one really made a big impression. Ratra did shine with the bat, but the spilled catches will always be held against a wicket keeper. The fact that no one from the India juniors was picked into the probables of the national side, tells the whole story.