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Bug can’t keep good men down

Only Zaheer could not recover and spent the day in the dressing room rather than the field, while the other four were fit enough to play. Amol Karhadkar assess their performance.

cricket Updated: Aug 26, 2007 02:13 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times

Much was made of the viral bug that had bitten five Indian cricketers — Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar and Rudra Pratap Singh — on the eve of the second ODI.

On Friday, it turned out that only Zaheer could not recover and spent the day in the dressing room rather than the field, while the other four were fit enough to play. Let’s assess their performance:

Sachin Tendulkar

As India skipper Rahul Dravid revealed in the post-match press conference, Tendulkar wasn’t sure till Friday morning whether he would be playing the game. "He spoke to me in the morning, said he felt comfortable and was keen to play," Dravid said.

And what a knock it was! Though he missed his third successive century at the County Ground by a solitary run, thanks to a mistake by umpire Ian Gould, the knock set up the platform for Dravid and Co to launch an attack on the England bowling.

As was evident from the fact that he started suffering from cramps after entering the 80s and did not come out to field when Indian fielded, Tendulkar played that great knock without being 100 per cent.

Yuvraj Singh

While Tendulkar’s decision to play was made before the team left for the ground on Friday morning, it wasn’t the case with Yuvraj. “There was a bit of doubt about Yuvi as well, but he went through the training in the morning and felt good,” Dravid said.

Yuvraj was sent in at No 3 He and Tendulkar added 67 runs off 72 balls before Tendulkar’s dismissal. He then added 63 off 56 with Dravid for the third wicket before falling to Stuart Broad one short of his fifty.

RP Singh and Ajit Agarkar

It was expected that the England top-order would attempt to attack India in the initial overs, and Matt Prior and Alastair Cook did exactly that. They went after the new-ball pair of RP Singh and Ajit Agarkar, racing to 75 in 10 overs, with 14 fours.

Agarkar was as disappointing as he was at Southampton as he faced the brunt of the firing. The England pair garnered 41 runs off his first four overs. Agarkar’s final figures read 9-1-67-0, something that’s not expected of the most experienced bowler in the side.

RP Singh, on the other hand, looked the most effective medium-pacer on Friday. He conceded 35 runs off his first seven overs, and his final figures read 10-0-56-1.

First Published: Aug 26, 2007 02:10 IST