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Yuvraj hits ton for Prez's XI

cricket Updated: Oct 06, 2008 00:53 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times
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For someone who began this match trying to enhance his chances of succeeding in an unfamiliar environment, Jason Krejza must be wondering if there was any way things could have gone worse. As the four-day match meandered to a draw, Australia's lead specialist spinner — Victorian leggie Cameron White is on the way - perhaps did enough to bowl himself out of contention for the first Test. With a three-ball duck and 0 for 199 from 31 overs, if he is preferred to White, who arrives in Bangalore on Monday, then the think-tank must not consider White at all.

Yuvraj Singh, who had begun his innings with the kind of discipline and safety-first approach that was just the thing lacking in his Test match play over the last few years, took a shine to Krejza. When someone goes for 63 runs from 6 overs, even on the flattest of decks, you know something is badly wrong.

It was not that Krejza did not try different things —- he changed his angles, varied his pace, tried to give the ball a bit of air and then bowled flat — but nothing made the slightest difference. His six-over spell went for four sixes and five fours. When you take into account the fact that two of those fours were reverse-swept off consecutive balls by Wasim Jaffer, you know just how grave the Australian spin situation is, no matter how many times they tell you otherwise.

When the day began with the Board President's XI 251 ahead, there was still a good chance that they would push for the win. The aggressive manner in which Yuvraj and Jaffer batted in the course of their 200-run third-wicket stand further indicated that a declaration was imminent. After bludgeoning Krejza out of the attack, Yuvraj drove hard at Stuart Clark and feathered an edge to the keeper. Yuvraj's 16th first-class hundred ended on 113, with 70 of those runs coming from seven fours and as many sixes.

Jaffer, who knows well enough how to pace himself to a century, looked good for his 33rd first-class ton, but fell seven short, adjudged lbw to Stuart Clark.

When both Yuvraj and Jaffer were dismissed, and BP XI leading by 381, the stage was perfectly set for a declaration at lunch. Still, for reasons best known to Yuvraj, the innings was extended even after the meal break and eventually terminated with the score on 292 for 4. The target left no room for even hypothetical aspirations of a chase and the number of overs remaining would not have sparked fears of being bowled out.

Australia's batsmen just played their natural game, getting some practice out in the middle, and even the loss of two openers en route to ending the day on 127 for 2, when play was called off, will not have bothered them.

What will play on their minds is that they have now been forced to contemplate the unthinkable — going into a Test in India without a specialist spinner in the playing eleven.

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